MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. The US-based microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, which complains about restrictions against its operations in Russia, appears to have forgotten that it was engaged in blocking content that it had deemed unwelcome, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed out on her Facebook page.
"Is it the same Twitter that blocked [former] US president [Donald Trump] a couple of months ago?" she wrote on Facebook. "They should keep a record of their own digital achievements. Otherwise, it appears that <…> as a result of a system failure, the company starts expressing concern about activities it is engaged in."
On Wednesday, the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media took measures to initially decelerate Twitter’s loading speed by 100% on mobile gadgets and 50% on desktop devices nationwide due to the social network’s violation of Russia’s legislation.
The regulator specified that as of March 10, the social network had not removed 3,168 pieces of content containing proscribed information. It concerns tweets with information on ways of committing suicide, incitement to commit suicide, as well as child pornography and information about methods of making and using drugs. The regulator sent over 28,000 initial and repeated requests to remove these illegal links and publications. The agency added that it may block Twitter on the territory of the Russian Federation if the tech giant continues to shrug off compliance with Russian legislation to remove prohibited content.
On Wednesday, foreign media published a statement by Twitter, in which the company confirmed the slowdown and denied any wrongdoing. "We remain committed to advocating for the Open Internet around the world and are deeply concerned by increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation," the company said.
Twitter also assured that it has "a zero-tolerance policy regarding child sexual exploitation," and that it is against the Twitter Rules to "promote, glorify or encourage suicide and self harm." "We do not allow the use of Twitter for any unlawful behaviour or to further illegal activities, including the buying and selling of drugs," the company added.
On February 1, a law came into force in Russia, which obliges social networks to independently identify and block prohibited content. Social networks are required to take immediate action to restrict access to such prohibited information. If it is not possible to independently assess content within 24 hours, the administration of the social network must send the data to the federal media and communications watchdog.