Russia 'slows' Twitter over failure to remove content they say is illegal

FILE- This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app on a mobile phone in Philadelphia, United States.
FILE- This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app on a mobile phone in Philadelphia, United States.   -  Copyright  Matt Rourke/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By Euronews, AFP

Russia's media watchdog accuses the social network of failing to remove content related to drug use, suicide and child pornography. Twitter is also used widely by supporters of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

No pictures, no videos. Russia's Twitter users faced service disruptions on Wednesday after the media regulator announced it was slowing down the social network's speed in the country.

Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor says Twitter has repeatedly refused to remove banned content on drug use, suicide or child pornography.

In recent weeks, Moscow has been critical of foreign social networks for failing to moderate posts in support of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny, whose imprisonment last month drew international condemnation and nationwide protests.

But the statement of Roskomnadzor did not refer to political matters, slamming Twitter among other things for not reacting to "calls for minors to commit mass suicide on March 3, 2021."

"The slowdown will be implemented on 100% of mobile devices and 50% of fixed devices," the statement said.

"If Twitter continues to ignore the requirements of the law, the enforcement measures will be continued in line with the response regulations and all the way to blocking," Roskomnadzor continued.

The agency says Twitter has ignored over 28,000 requests to delete banned content since 2017.

Russian Twitter users took to the social network to mock the decision, with some calling it "censorship."

"If the work of Twitter is slowed down by Russian authorities in the same way as the rise in food prices, then I am calm," one user wrote.

"To slow Twitter down, Roskomnadzor plans to integrate Russian Post into the service," said another.

The websites of the Kremlin, the State Duma and of Roscomnadzor were down on Wednesday morning. Authorities say the outage has nothing to do with their recent Twitter decision.

A large number of government websites and online services were disrupted in 2018 when authorities tried to restrict the use of messaging app, Telegram.

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