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Netflix suspends service in Russia and TikTok won't allow new posts

MoneyWatch: Companies pull out of Russia
MoneyWatch: International companies pull out of Russia following invasion of Ukraine 07:02

Netflix is suspending its services in Russia, adding to a long list of companies boycotting the country over its invasion of Ukraine — and it's not the only online service Russians won't be able to use. TikTok has also said users on its platform in Russia have been blocked from posting and viewing videos.

"Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia," a Netflix spokesperson told Reuters.

Netflix had earlier announced that it would pause all future projects and acquisitions from Russia, joining a growing list of companies that have stopped doing business with the country. 

The streaming service confirmed that it pulled its service on Sunday after it found operating in Russia "too challenging given the increase in sanctions and growing payment challenges," the Wall Street Journal reported. It did not specify what would happen to existing subscriber accounts.

Visa and Mastercard blocked services for Russian banks last week. The country's banks were also U.S., U.K. and EU agree to remove select Russian banks from SWIFT banking system, the international financial messaging system. 

Netflix's announcement comes after TikTok's changes, which the company said were in response to the government's crackdown on social media, citing punitive new laws criminalizing the spread of "fake" information concerning the government's assault on Ukraine.

"In light of Russia's new 'fake news' law, we have no choice but to suspend live streaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law," the company said in a statement on Twitter. "Our in-app messaging service will not be affected."

The law, passed Friday by Russia's parliament, penalizes those who discredit the Russian armed forces or call for sanctions against the country. It also makes it illegal to intentionally spread "false" information, including language that describes Russia's attack against Ukraine as an "invasion," under threat of a 15-year prison sentence.

Not only is the country grappling with extensive sanctions, but many corporations and organizations have suspended their services or pulled out of Russia. Disney announced early last week it was pausing all movie debuts in Russia. Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount Pictures and Universal all followed suit. Microsoft, Dell, Google, Apple and Samsung have also suspended sales to the country. Ikea has closed stores and Nike has said it will no longer fulfill online orders.

American Express also announced earlier in the day it would suspend operations in Russia, as well as in Russian-allied Belarus.

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