Russia hits Twitter with slowdown, vows block unless content pushing suicide, drugs erased

In this photo illustration the Twitter logo is displayed on the screen of an iPhone in front of a computer screen displaying Twitter logos. Chesnot | Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Mar 10, 2021, TASS. The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media may block Twitter on the territory of the Russian Federation if the tech giant continues to shrug off compliance with Russian legislation to remove prohibited content, the media watchdog announced on its website on Wednesday, TASS reported.

“If the Twitter Internet service continues to ignore the legal requirements, these [enforcement] measures will continue in line with regulations (even going as far as imposing a block) until suicide incitement aimed at minors, child pornography, as well as information about the use of drugs are removed,” the watchdog said.

On Wednesday, the federal agency took measures to initially decelerate Twitter’s loading speed by 100% on mobile gadgets and 50% on desktop devices nationwide due to the social network’s violation of Russia’s legislation.

The regulator specified that as of March 10, the social network had not removed 3,168 pieces of content containing proscribed information. It concerns tweets with information on ways of committing suicide, incitement to commit suicide, as well as child pornography and information about methods of making and using drugs. The regulator sent over 28,000 initial and repeated requests to remove these illegal links and publications.

On February 1, a law came into force in Russia, which obliges social networks to independently identify and block prohibited content. Social networks are required to take immediate action to restrict access to such prohibited information. If it is not possible to independently assess content within 24 hours, the administration of the social network must send the data to the federal media and communications watchdog.

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