A Russian court has upheld a decision to ban professional networking company LinkedIn, setting a precedent for the way foreign internet firms operate in the country.
LinkedIn, which has more than 6 million registered users in Russia, violated a law that requires foreign messaging services, search engines and social networking sites to store the personal data of Russian users inside the country, the court ruled.
Moscow said the law, introduced in 2014, is aimed at protecting the personal data of Russians. Critics see it as an attack on social networks in a country which has increasingly tightened control over the internet in recent years.
Activists worry Thursday's ruling may also affect how other tech giants operate in Russia. Facebook and Google have a data storage policy similar to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn's website was still accessible on Moscow internet connections as of Thursday afternoon. But Russia's communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said it would be blocked as soon as the agency received the full text of the Moscow district court's ruling, likely next week.
While some companies such as online reservations site Booking.com have said they will transfer the necessary data to Russian servers, it is unclear whether others, including Facebook and Google, will comply with the law.