Russia slows Twitter’s speed over failure to remove banned content

By Chidinma Uchechukwumgemezu
Twitter said Tuesday it was rolling out tweets which disappear after 24 hours, joining rival social platforms in offering ephemeral messages.

The Russian state communications watchdog on Wednesday said it was restricting the use of Twitter by slowing down its speed, accusing the social media platform of repeatedly failing to remove banned content from its site.

Roskomnadzor threatened to block the service completely, adding that there were more than 3,000 posts containing illegal content on it as of Wednesday.

Twitter, like other U.S. social media, is used widely inside Russia by allies of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny whose jailing last month prompted nationwide protests.

“The slowing down will be applied on 100 per cent of mobile devices and on 50 per cent of non-mobile devices,” the regulator said in a statement on its website.

“If (Twitter) continues to ignore the requirements of the law, the enforcement measures will be continued in line with the response regulations (all the way to blocking),” it said.

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

Wednesday’s move comes amid mounting efforts by Moscow to exert greater influence over U.S. social media platforms and frustrations over what authorities say is their failure to follow Russian laws.

In December 2020, parliament’s lower house backed big new fines on platforms that fail to delete banned content and another bill that would allow them to be restricted if they “discriminate” against Russian media.

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