Venerable blog platform LiveJournal is now saying goodbye to some of its biggest users, after announcing it’s taking steps to comply with Russian law.
The platform, which moved its servers to Russia in December last year, updated its terms of service last week, Gizmodo reports.
Under the terms, content deemed as "political solicitation," or that "contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation" will be banned.
Russian law gives censors sweeping powers to ban political and pro-LGBTQ content under the guise of national security. But critics say the law has been used as an excuse to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
This meme of Vladimir Putin as a gay clown has been banned.
While having fewer users than it did in its heyday, LiveJournal still has about 15.2 million monthly users, and remains the blog platform of choice for science fiction and fantasy writers like George R. R. Martin.
Blogs that receive more than 3,000 viewers in a day will also be classified as media outlets and can no longer publish anonymously, use obscene language or share "extremist materials".
Though the new terms won’t affect users who have paid for an ad-free account, many who have had LiveJournals are rushing to leave the site en masse, and several of them have left for Dreamwidth, a blog platform written on LiveJournal’s source code.
"The rot has finally gone too far," science-fiction author Charlie Stross wrote. "I’m migrating my entire LiveJournal presence to Dreamwidth."
I was proud to have made the official LiveJournal comic, now it has twisted into something icky. https://t.co/pig1uQHRnB
— Ryan Estrada (@ryanestrada) April 9, 2017
The change in LiveJournal’s terms have also come as Russia’s president Vladimir Putin faces an upcoming election in March 2018. A similar crackdown on online wallet Yandex.money saw users who were fundraising for "political aims" banned, two months after a Russian opposition leader began raising money through the platform.