LiveJournal, the blog service that was wildly popular starting in the early 2000s, has instituted new, harsh rules that you would think only happen in Russia.
The service has actually been run by a Russian company. SUP Media, since 2007, but is only now changing its terms of service because it has relocated its servers to its new motherland, and as Gizmodo reported, those changes are truly worth reading the fine print.
First, any blogs that are viewed by more than 3,000 visitors per day are now considered “media outlets,” subjecting them to new requirements under Russian law to publicly identify themselves.
Also, bloggers are required to avoid using obscene language and are prohibited from sharing “extremist materials,” such as anything critical of President Vladimir Putin or the Russian government and anything that supports the LGBTQ community.
According to Mic, a Russian court ruled last month that confronting and discussing homophobia in films like Beauty and the Beast is “extremist” because it will “incite social and religious hatred.” That means LiveJournal could censor LGBTQ activists and fanfiction writers because their material may be accessed by minors, or otherwise challenge the homophobic status quo.
And as PC Magazine reported, this revision to the terms of service means LiveJournal now complies with a Russian “blogger’s law,” enacted last month, which gives the Russian government enhanced abilities to monitor individuals and all groups that criticize it.
So far there’s no indication a violation could result in an American blogger being punished by Russia’s government, but at the very least they will risk getting kicked off LiveJournal.