Vkontakte users blackmailed and threatened extremism denunciation

Vkontakte users blackmailed and threatened extremism denunciation
Photo: Oleg Kharseev / Kommersant

A woman of St. Petersburg was blackmailed into paying $150 to make sure her "extremist" post on the social network would not be reported to the police.

A St. Petersburg woman said she was blackmailed over her posts on the VKontakte network, according to the Telegram Channel with the name that is translated as "You’re gonna go to jail for your like". A user with the name Anastasia Bourge wanted $150 from the woman, otherwise threatening to report an "extremist" post on her page to the police.

"For 150 dollars in bitcoins, I'll disregard the repost and give you some tips on online security," Anastasia Bourge wrote. "Removing the links or your page will not help in your case since the VK has provided absolutely all data to law enforcement agencies since 2007. Including materials that have been deleted. "

According to the blackmailer, the St. Petersburg woman is facing "3 years in a colony settlement" for her posts. Unless she gets the 150 dollars, the criminal promised she would report to the “E” Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region “this afternoon”. Judging by the messages, the issue was about a post about the terrorist Anders Breivik.

After the blackmail police report, VKontakte blocked Anastasia Bourge's page for violating the network’s rules, Fontanka reported. A few similar threats were reported later. The blackmailers posted screenshots of reports they had filed with the MIA online.

There have been several high-profile lawsuits in Russia with people prosecuted for their VKontakte posts. Maria Motuznaya of Barnaul was charged with insulting the feelings of believers for pictures she had saved. The woman made a post about it and others followed suit. It turned out to be a workable and nearly automatic scheme of bringing people to criminal liability for their VKontakte posts.

Mail.ru Group, the VKontakte owner, called for the amnesty of all those convicted of reposts and likes on the social network and asked the parliament and the Supreme Court to review the legislation. Then VKontakte introduced a privacy reform: only the original poster will be able to see the list of people who have made a repost. Besides, users can now make their pages private for everyone except their friends.

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