Vladimir Putin Threatens To Block Twitter within 30 days in Russia unless it removes ‘banned content’
Vadim Subbotin, the head of Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor, warned Twitter today (Tuesday 16) that Russia will block it within 30 days unless it removes what the government classes as ‘banned content’, which includes child porn and information on child suicide, and drugs.
Critics of Putin have said the crackdown has nothing to do with the internet content, but all to do with stopping his political opponents from using social media in the country to organise rallies in the wake of the arrest of Alexei Navalny.
The threat came just 24 hours after Navalny posted his first update on social media, a photo from inside his prison, showing him with his freshly-shaved head.
Sarkis Darbinyan, an internet freedom advocate with the Roskomsvoboda group, said, “Of course the main motive is the increase in street protest action. It’s 10 years since the Arab Spring this year and they’ve understood the internet is a driving force. Any desire to control the Russian internet is connected to the desire to control the information space”.
A statement on Roskomnadzor’s website said that all mobile devices and half of the devices using Twitter would face a disruption in service in an effort to “protect Russian citizens”.
Vadim Subbotin stated, “The mechanism envisions slowing down the transfer of photo and video content without any limitations on text messages. Users will be able to exchange messages freely”, adding that the restrictions would remain in place until Twitter complied with the request to remove the offending content and warned that failure to do so could lead to a full blockage of Twitter inside Russia.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said, “Nobody has any desire to block anything, but taking measures that force the company to fulfil our laws is completely justifiable”, while, during a meeting in Moscow last week with young volunteers, Mr Putin told them, “We all, unfortunately, know what the internet is and how it’s used to spread entirely unacceptable content”, as reported by express.co.uk.
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