Russia has announced that plans are ongoing to slow down access to Twitter in the country. The country says this has become imperative to protect its citizens from illegal content. The measure was announced by Russia’s communication authority who said Twitter has failed to remove illegal content from its platform.
Russia’s Federal Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Communications Oversight Service, also known as Roskomnadzor, said that it is throttling down the speed of Twitter, reports CNBC.
Throttling Twitter is one of two measures Roskomnadzor is planning to take against the microblogging company—the Russian communication watchdog also plans to completely block access to Twitter if it does not comply.
Roskomnadzor in a statement translated into English said:
“In order to protect Russian citizens and forcing the Internet service to comply with the legislation on the territory of the Russian Federation in relation to Twitter, since March 10, 2021, centralized response measures have been taken, namely, the primary slowdown of the service speed (according to the regulations). The slowdown will be implemented on 100% of mobile devices and 50% of stationary devices.
“If the Twitter online service continues to ignore the requirements of the Law, the measures of influence will continue in accordance with the response regulations (up to blocking) as long as the calls to commit suicide by minors, child pornography, as well as information about the use of drugs are removed.”
In 2017, a new law aimed at banning VPNs and other anonymous browsing tools was signed by President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
The law marked a major blow below the belt for a country whose citizens have always been faced with the challenge of accessing the internet without being monitored by the government. Chairman of the Duma’s committee on information policy and technology, Leonid Levin, said the law is aimed at banning law abiding citizens, but designed instead to prevent access to illegal content.
Also in 2017, the Russian authorities closed down LinkedIn for failing to comply with its laws on localizing its data within the country. The block came into effect after a court in Russia found LinkedIn guilty of breaching a law that requires holding Russian citizens’ data to store it on servers within the country.
The law asking Twitter and other Internet companies to comply and localize users’ personal data within Russia was passed in 2015. This has led to disagreements with some internet companies, including LinkedIn.
Twitter was reportedly on the verge of reaching an agreement with Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor that will see the microblogging company localize some of its users’ data in Russia. Quoting agency chief, Alexander Zharov, the report added that Twitter was on the verge of determining what information should be localized. While briefing the press, Zharov said Twitter is currently “in the process of determining what information about Russian citizens and organizations in commercial relations with Twitter in Russia can be stored in the Russian Federation”.