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Russian lawmaker wants Facebook blocked over rainbow flag filter

Russian lawmaker wants Facebook blocked over rainbow flag filter

Vitaly Milonov

Vitaly Milonov, who is a co-creator of Russia’s controversial ‘gay propaganda’ law has reportedly called for the shutdown of Facebook over its tool which allows users to add a transparent filter in the colors of the LGBT rainbow flag over their profile photos.

The social network introduced the function to allow users to show their support for the US Supreme Court’s decision last Friday to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.

Milonov had reportedly told the Russian News Service on Saturday that he had requested the country’s media watchdog to block Facebook as the display of rainbow flags on user profiles is in ‘flagrant violation’ of the country’s law given that the social media site is accessible by minors.

Should the watchdog not act, he promised to personally call on the FSB security service and President Vladimir Putin.

‘It is a crude violation of Russian legislation. Facebook has no age limits, it is impossible to control how many minors are there,’ the AFP quoted the lawmaker, who sits in the regional parliament of Saint Petersburg, as saying in a radio interview on Saturday.

‘That is why it would be completely normal to pull the plug on Facebook in Russia.’

Although homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, a law was passed in June 2013 which bans the promotion of ‘nontraditional’ sexual relations to minors.

So far, only one lawmaker has called on the country to adopt a more balanced approach with regard to the LGBTIs in Russia following the ruling in the US.

Senator Konstantin Dobrynin, deputy head of the Federation Council’s constitutional law committee, said in the Moscow Times, ‘It is important not to turn away from the present-day realities and not to lapse into the same old battle against homosexuals, but to try to find a legal way of ensuring a public balance between the conservative section of society and everyone else on this subject.’

Although Dobrynin did not vote against a draft law banning gay propaganda to minors in 2013, he was quoted as saying that he was tired of Russia’s preoccupation with anti-gay lawmaking.