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Russia decides not to block Twitter after company deleted over 91% of prohibited content

The watchdog will lift restrictions on access to the social network on desktop computers, while will maintain the slowdown of traffic on mobile devices

MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. The Russian authorities decided not to block Twitter after the social network had removed over 90% of the illegal content, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media said on its website on Monday. The watchdog decided to stop decelerating Twitter’s loading speed for desktop traffic, but to keep the slowdown for mobile traffic.

"The check showed that Twitter moderators removed over 91% of the prohibited information. At the moment, 563 posts with child pornography, drugs and suicide related content, calls on minors to participate in unauthorized mass events and also extremist and other pieces of content prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation remain undeleted," the regulator says.

The watchdog decided not to block the service, remove restrictions on access to it on desktop computers, while maintaining the slowdown of social network traffic on mobile devices.

The agency stressed that in order to completely remove the restrictions the social network should remove all identified prohibited materials, as well as respond to the department's requirements no later than 24 hours from the moment of their receipt.

The agency mentioned a letter it received from the company. In that letter Twitter administration confirmed that it shares attempts to combat prohibited content and will take all necessary measures to remove it. It emphasizes that the management of the social network is interested in building a constructive dialogue with the Russian regulator.

The agency praised the efforts Twitter had already made to comply with the requirements of Russian legislation.

The watchdog also said that measures to restrict traffic, similar to those used in relation to Twitter, can be extended to Facebook and YouTube. This will happen if the services do not remove illegal content.

On March 10, the media watchdog announced that it had begun to initially decelerate Twitter’s loading speed in Russia because the service did not remove content prohibited in the country. The agency promised to take further measures to influence the social network even going as far as imposing a block).

On April 5, the watchdog decided to extend the slowdown measures until May 15. The decision was made after the social network had begun a dialogue and removed a significant part of the prohibited content.

By the time the agency took these initial measures of the beginning of the application of restrictive measures, the department demanded that the social network remove more than 4,100 prohibited pieces of content identified since 2017. In addition, since the start of the service traffic slowdown, about 1,800 new prohibited posts have been identified.