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Russia Just Throttled Twitter, Ban Could Follow

Move is reportedly to keep posts encouraging anti-Kremlin protests from circulating
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2021 6:08 AM CST
Updated Mar 10, 2021 6:56 AM CST

(Newser) – The new year in Russia kicked off with mass arrests of protesters pushing back against the detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, an inconvenient development in a nation known for stifling dissent. Now the Kremlin is going after American social media, throttling Twitter's speed in an apparent attempt to tamp down on posts encouraging people to demonstrate. "The slowing down will be applied to 100% of mobile devices and on 50% of nonmobile devices," state communications regulator Roskomnadzor announced in a Wednesday statement, noting it had found more than 3,000 posts of illegal content on the social media platform that Twitter wouldn't take down, per Reuters. The regulator says it has asked Twitter to yank those posts more than 28,000 times over the past four years or so, reports CNBC.

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The unprecedented move comes on the heels of Russia accusing Twitter of not deleting posts that spur children to take part in anti-Kremlin protests. Roskomnadzor didn't cite that particular reason in the posts it was concerned over, instead noting they contained content related to drug abuse, child porn, and suicide glamorization targeted at minors. And it's not just a slowdown of the site that could take place. "If (Twitter) continues to ignore the requirements of the law, the enforcement measures will be continued ... (right up to blocking it)," Roskomnadzor warned, with Interfax noting an official there said other social media platforms could be slowed down (and ostensibly blocked) as well. "This is only the beginning. Facebook and Google are next," the head of the country's Internet Protection Society tells the Moscow Times, noting he doesn't think Twitter will "bow down" to Russia. (Read more Russia stories.)

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