Netflix leaves Russia and TikTok won’t allow new posts

By Anna Cooban, CNN Business

Netflix and TikTok are suspending all or part of their services in Russia, adding to a long list of companies boycotting the country over its war in Ukraine.

Netflix said on Sunday it would stop streaming its content in Russia, but did not say what would happen to existing subscriber accounts.

“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” a company spokesperson told CNN.

Last week, the streaming giant refused to comply with a new law requiring platforms with more than 100,000 subscribers to broadcast Russian state TV channels. The company, which according to Bloomberg has less than a million subscribers nationwide, suspended all future projects and production of original Russian shows, Variety reported.

Netflix joins a growing number of entertainment and media companies pulling out of Russia. Disney has suspended all theatrical releases in the country. Warner Bros., which is owned by CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia, said its blockbuster “The Batman” won’t be released in Russian theaters.

TikTok also said on Sunday it would prevent further uploads and livestreams to its platform in Russia, citing punitive new laws criminalizing the dissemination of “false” information regarding the government’s assault on Ukraine.

“In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend live streaming and new content from our video service while we consider the implications of this law for security,” the company tweeted.

Russian users could still use TikTok’s in-app messaging service, he added.

The law, passed by Russia’s parliament on Friday, punishes those who discredit Russia’s armed forces or call for sanctions against the country. Violators could face a prison sentence of up to 15 years or a fine of 1.5 million rubles ($14,085), state news agencies reported.

The new rules prompted many international media outlets, including CNN, to stop reporting from Russia over fears for the safety of journalists, and forced many independent Russian outlets to shut down.

TikTok said last week it had accelerated a policy to help users identify videos that had been uploaded by state-controlled media accounts. The platform would begin tagging this content in the coming days, he said.

CNN’s Brian Stelter and Brian Fung contributed to this report.

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