Russia slows down Twitter by failing to remove banned content

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Twitter logo displayed in front of the Russian flag is seen in this illustration image, October 27, 2017. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s state communications watchdog said on Wednesday it was restricting the use of Twitter by slowing it down, accusing the social media platform of repeatedly failing to remove banned content from its site.

Roskomnadzor threatened to block the service entirely, saying that as of Wednesday there were more than 3,000 posts with illegal content.

Twitter, like other American social networks, is widely used within Russia by allies of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, whose imprisonment last month sparked protests across the country.

“The slowdown will apply to 100% of mobile devices and 50% of non-mobile devices,” the regulator said in a statement on its website.

“If (Twitter) continues to ignore the requirements of the law, enforcement measures will continue in accordance with the response regulations (until the lockdown),” he said.

Twitter did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Wednesday’s move comes amid growing efforts by Moscow to exert greater influence over US social media platforms and frustrations over what authorities say is its breach of Russian laws.

Last December, the lower house of parliament backed large new fines for platforms that do not remove prohibited content and another bill that would allow them to restrict them if they “discriminate” against Russian media.

Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva and Maria Kiselyova; additional reports from Alexander Marrow; written by Tom Balmforth; edited by John Stonestreet


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