Will Russia block Facebook over gay emoji?

Will Russia block Facebook?

Having recently told Russian Facebook users to leave the social network over its blocking of Russia’s telecommunications regulator, the Russian government is taking its beef with the site even further, as it’s considering blocking it entirely over its use of gay emoji.

Russian senator Mikhail Marchenko has called for the government to investigate whether Facebook’s same-sex emoji are in direct violation of the country’s ‘homosexual propaganda’ laws which were established in 2013.

In his appeal to Russia's Roskomnadzor (Federal Service For Supervision of Communication, Information Technology and Mass Media), Marchenko stated that “these emoji of non-traditional sexual orientation are seen by all users of the social network, a large portion of whom are minors,” and that “propaganda of homosexuality is banned under the laws and under the pillars of tradition that exist here in our country.”

Though access to similar emoji on Twitter and in Apple’s own emoji section is readily available, the appeal makes no mention of these services, instead choosing to focus its attention on Facebook.

It could work, too – Roskomnadzor is believed to have closed down over 10,000 sites in Russia so far, and even managed to push Google and Intel out of the country entirely in 2014 for failing to comply with Russia’s blogger laws.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.