10 Mar 2021 11:14

Twitter slowed down in Russia starting on March 10 over failure to comply with legislative requirements - Roskomnadzor

MOSCOW. March 10 (Interfax) - Given the systematic disregard of the requirement to remove content forbidden in Russia by the online service Twitter, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) listed it as a threat and slowed down the operation of Twitter on all mobile devices and half of stationary devices starting on Wednesday, March 10, the Roskomnadzor press service said in a statement.

"Seeking to protect Russian citizens and to compel the Internet service to comply with the law in the territory of the Russian Federation, measures of centralized response were taken in Twitter's regard on March 10, 2021, i.e. the slowing down of service operation consistent with the regulations. The slowdown will be accomplished on 100% of mobile devices and 50% of stationary devices," Roskomnadzor said.

Consistent with the Law on Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information, the dissemination of information by the online service Twitter has been listed as a threat, it said.

"If the online service Twitter continues to disregard requirements of the law, further measures will be taken in accordance with the response protocol (up to blocking) until the calls for suicides of minors, child pornography and information on the use of narcotic drugs are removed," Roskomnadzor said.

Since 2017, Twitter has been declining to remove content that encourages minors to commit suicide, as well as child pornography and information about the use of narcotic drugs, Roskomnadzor said, adding that it had sent over 28,000 initial and repeat demands to remove the illegal links and publications to date.

As of March 10, 2021, Twitter has failed to remove 3,168 materials containing forbidden information (including 2,569 calls for suicide of minors, 450 materials containing child pornography, and 149 materials containing information about the use of narcotic drugs).

"The latest illustrative example is the demonstrative disregard of the regulator's demands (in contrast to other social networks, Twitter has not removed the materials) to remove the calls for mass suicide of minors on March 3, 2021, (please note that, according to the law enforcement authorities, several suicide attempts by minors were prevented on that day)," Roskomnadzor said.

Roskomnadzor said on March 1 that Twitter "had been grossly violating Russian laws". It said on March 2 it would draw up administrative protocols over Twitter's failure to remove the forbidden information.

Consistent with Articles 13.41 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses, a web platform that fails to restrict access to forbidden content upon receiving the notice from Roskomnadzor may be fined 800,000 to 4 million rubles, and the fine grows to 10% of the company's annual revenue in the event of a repeat offense. Fines are higher for the failure to remove extremist, suicidal and pornographic content, they reach 8 million rubles, and range from 10% to 20% of the company's annual revenue in the event of a repeat offense, Roskomnadzor said.

Roskomnadzor said on March 5 it had drawn up protocols in regard to several social networks, among them Twitter, over the failure to remove or late removal of information involving minors in unsanctioned mass events. A justice of the peace of Moscow's Savyolovsky district fined Mail.ru LLC 4 million rubles on March 4 on the basis of such protocols over the late removal of calls published on the Odnoklassniki social network.