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Netflix and TikTok Have Bad News for Russians

The streaming service and the sensational social media have had their back against the wall by the Russian authorities.
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After a few days of procrastination, Netflix  (NFLX)  has finally made a decision. 

A decision that will undoubtedly have major repercussions for the company whose ambitions are global. 

It will undoubtedly start a new chapter in the young history of the California company which would have preferred not to come to this. 

But faced with the sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and their allies on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, Netflix had no choice. 

Especially since Moscow did not help things by trying to force the company to stream Vladimir Putin's propaganda.

Netflix will suspend its service in Russia. 

What this means is that people living in Russia and wishing to subscribe to the streaming service will no longer be able to do so. It will also no longer be possible to access the service for existing customers, who number has reached 1 million in the country. 

However, Netflix does not say what will become of these existing accounts.

"Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia," a spokeswoman told TheStreet in an email statement.

Netflix also joins the long list of major international companies that have decided to suspend their activities in the country. Visa  (V) and Mastercard  (MA)  also added their names to this list over the weekend.

TikTok, for its part, explains on the social network Twitter the reasons for the temporary cessation of its services in Russia.

'We Have No Choice'

"In light of Russia's new 'fake news' law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law. Our in-app messaging service will not be affected," the company said.

TikTok says it regrets coming to this, especially since "TikTok is an outlet for creativity and entertainment that can provide a source of relief and human connection during a time of war when people are facing immense tragedy and isolation."

The moves come after the Russian parliament passed a law on Friday banning the dissemination of "fake news" against the Russian military.

To show that the country was going to apply this new law, the Russian authorities immediately blocked access to Facebook which it accused of having violated the terms of this law by suspending Russian state media channels from its platforms.

The blocking comes after aggressive moves by Facebook and all of its platforms -- Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook -- to restrict Russian propaganda.

Facebook, like Youtube  (GOOGL) and Twitter  (TWTR)  have also blocked the Russian media channels RT and Sputnik in Europe. The social media giant said this week that it has detected a disinformation network running accounts, pages, groups and communities targeting Ukraine on social media.

Netflix was already in line with the Russian authorities.

The streaming service on Feb. 28 pushed back against a law that requires Netflix to broadcast streams of 20 Russian federal television stations, including Channel One, NTV and a channel run by the Russian Orthodox Church, Spas. 

Russia’s Channel One also has close links to the Kremlin, and its board counts some of President Vladimir Putin’s closest political allies as members.