Russian authorities say they will block Twitter nationwide in a month’s time unless the social media company complies with requests to remove certain content, according to Reuters.
The threat follows a week of growing tensions between Russia and Twitter: On March 9, Russian authorities sued Twitter and other mainstream social sites, alleging they failed to remove posts urging children to participate in nationwide illegal protests against the imprisonment of senior critic Alexei Navalny of President Vladimir Putin. On March 10, the country’s regulators Twitter strangled for not removing the banned content, although this time they didn’t mention the protests. Instead, they cited examples of child pornography, drug use, and tweets encouraging children to attempt suicide. At the time, Russian regulators vaguely threatened to ban Twitter, although they did not provide a deadline for such a move.
Today’s warning was more direct. Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday that the threat to block Twitter within the month came from Vadim Subbotin, the deputy head of the country’s communications supervisory board, Roskomnadzor.
“Twitter is not responding to our requests as it should,” Subbotin said, as reported by Reuters. “If the situation persists, it will be stuck in a month without a court order.”
Responding to the nationwide Twitter slowdown in Russia last week, the company said, “We have a zero tolerance policy regarding the sexual exploitation of children, it is against Twitter’s rules to promote, glorify or encourage suicide and self-harm, and we do not allow the use of Twitter for any illegal behavior or to pursue illegal activities, including buying and selling drugs. We remain committed to advocating for the open Internet around the world and deeply concerned about the increasing attempts to block and throttle public conversations online.