Russian authorities said Tuesday that if Twitter does not take action to remove banned content within a month, it will be blocked, escalating the Russian government’s long-running spat with social media sites that have played a key role in amplifying dissent in Russia.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state communications watchdog, reported last week that it would slow down the posting of images and videos to Twitter due to the company’s alleged failure to delete posts urging children to commit suicide as well as information about drugs and child pornography.
According to the agency, Twitter has refused to delete more than 3,000 posts containing prohibited content, including more than 2,500 posts urging minors to commit suicide. The platform reacted by stressing its zero-tolerance policy for child sexual abuse, suicide promotion, and drug sales.
On Tuesday, Roskomnadzor deputy chief Vadim Subbotin said that Twitter was still not compliant with Russian authorities’ demands.
Authorities have slammed social media outlets for mobilising tens of thousands of people in Russia’s streets this year to demand the release of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The surge of protests was the biggest in years, posing a significant danger to the Kremlin.
The government’s attempts to tighten control over the Internet and social media started in 2012 when a law was passed allowing authorities to blacklist and censor such online content. Since then, an increasing number of limitations have been placed on messaging applications, blogs, and social media networks.
Russian authorities have repeatedly aired threats to ban both Twitter and Facebook for not complying with the laws but did not take action fearing public outrage. According to the Experts, this time around, there are serious chances of Twitter getting banned if it doesn’t follow the rules laid down by the Russian government.