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Russia Withdraws Threat to Block Facebook After Content Expunged

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April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Russia’s communications watchdog said it withdrew a threat to block Facebook Inc. after the social network removed a page on suicide, while Google Inc. is suing another government agency over demands to delete a video.

The regulator, known as Roskomnadzor, can blacklist websites featuring content banned under a law to protect children that restricts child pornography and depictions of drug use or suicide. The law came into effect last year.

When content has been deemed harmful to children, the watchdog calls for the website owner to delete the questionable material and may shut down the site, Vladimir Pikov, a spokesman for Roskomnadzor, said by phone in Moscow.

Facebook agreed to cooperate and won’t be banned from Russia, he said. Varvara Fefilova, a Moscow-based spokeswoman for Facebook, declined to comment.

YouTube, Google’s video service, is suing Russia’s public-health safety watchdog over a call to block a video showing how to apply scary Halloween makeup, and had nothing to do with infliction of bodily harm, according to the company’s press office in Moscow.

The Halloween video was temporarily blocked, and the next court hearing is scheduled for April 26, according to YouTube.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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