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Russian-owned Livejournal bans dissenting speech to please Putin

Maybe now George R. R. Martin will finally move onto Wordpress.
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mikolajn via Getty Images

Russia's hardline stance against LGBTQ media is back in the news. This time it's because a change in the terms of service for LiveJournal strictly prohibits users from posting "political solicitation materials" and anything "contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation." As AdVox notes, what constitutes as such is wide open for interpretation. But it's feared that given recent history, this will be a uniform crackdown on posts that don't fit the express purview of Russia, including political dissent and pro-LGBTQ stances.

More than that, the Russian version of the ToS is the only legally binding one. Yup, even if you're outside the aging social network's new-ish home country. "Attention: this translation of the User Agreement is not a legally binding document. The original User Agreement, which is valid is located at the following address," the top of the page reads.

Your data is up for grabs as well as it will be "available to [Live Journal] and may be used at its own discretion legally, including targeting the advertising to the User." And if you allow it, your IP address "may be available" to other users on the service.

But since LiveJournal is Russian-owned and its servers reside on Putin's soil, the most that can happen to non-Russian users is their accounts can get shut down. Folks in-country, however, may face a different set of consequences.

Who's using LiveJournal anymore anyway? Well, according to English-language Russian marketing blog Russian Search Tips, around 15 million people a month (Facebook is at 21 million). Perhaps the most prominent user is A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin. Maybe this will convince him to finally kick the service and finish Winds of Winter.

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