Facebook hace frente a Putin

PARÍS – El 20 de diciembre, el gobierno ruso solicitó que Facebook bloqueara una página usada para reunir a los opositores al presidente Vladimir Putin. Facebook inicialmente aceptó, pero permitió que al día siguiente se abriera otra nueva. Al demostrar que al menos algunas empresas occidentales se preocupan por valores que no se pueden expresar en términos de ganancias, Facebook debilitó una afirmación clave de la propaganda rusa y generó así dudas sobre otras falsas afirmaciones que están ayudando a sostener el régimen de Putin.

No se trató de una decisión fácil para Facebook. Al rehusarse a cumplir la solicitud del Kremlin, Facebook desafió abiertamente una ley rusa que permite la censura en Internet. Por ello, el gobierno puede directamente prohibir Facebook en Rusia, donde existe un formidable –y ahora completamente leal– competidor local, VKontakte. Cuando el fundador de VKontakte, Pavel Durov, se negó a cooperar con el gobierno el año pasado, fue obligado a renunciar a la empresa, vender su participación y abandonar el país.

No es difícil discernir por qué el Kremlin considera a una única página de Facebook tan seriamente. En un momento en que las desventuras de la política exterior de Putin causan estragos en la economía rusa, a una escala que ni siquiera los observadores más pesimistas habían anticipado– cualquier desafío a su liderazgo es percibido como una grave amenaza.

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