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Russia restricts twitter; Social media giant accused of ‘illegal content’

Russia’s media regulator to restrict online access to the social media giant Twitter. It announced that the action comes so as to “protect Russian citizens.” It further said that the slowdown is just the first step and that later it would consider blocking the service if Twitter did not act upon the complaints.

However the slowdown of Twitter’s services would only affect images and video and not the text. The officials confirmed that the measures would stay in place until the platform has removed all the content under complaint. The regulator cited 2,569 cases of users inciting minors to commit suicide, 450 cases of child pornography and 149 cases of information on drug use.

The Federal Service for the Supervision in the Sphere of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) based its decision on Twitter’s failure to remove “illegal content.” Since 2017, Roskomnadzor had made over 28,000 complaints to Twitter including repeated requests to remove illegal links and publications.

Meanwhile, Moscow has been tightening its grip on US-based social media platforms in an attempt to make them abide by Russian laws. Regarding this, the Russian Parliament’s lower house passed two bills that would grant power to state to fine the platforms if they fail to delete banned content and and also allow restrictions if they “discriminate” against Russian media organizations.

In last August, Twitter began tagging posts from certain Russian media accounts as “state-affiliated media.” The platform has also been popular with imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny as well as his allies. Member of the Russian Duma and committee on information and media, Anton Gorelkin warned that Facebook would be next to be hit with restrictions if it failed to remove illegal content on its platform.

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