According to Reuters, Russian authorities say they will block Twitter across the country in one month unless the social media company complies with demands to remove specific content.
The threat follows a week of rising tensions between Russia and Twitter: On March 9th, Russian authorities sued Twitter and other mainstream social sites, alleging they failed to delete posts urging children to participate in illegal, nationwide protests over the jailing of Alexei Navalny, a high-profile critic of President Vladimir Putin. On March 10th, regulators in the country throttled Twitter for failing to remove banned content, though this time, they didn’t mention the protests. Instead, they cited instances of child pornography, drug use, and tweets encouraging children to attempt suicide. At the time, Russian regulators vaguely threatened to ban Twitter, though they didn’t 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 oversight board, Roskomnadzor.
“Twitter is not reacting to our requests as they should,” Subbotin said, as reported by Reuters. “If the situation carries on, then it will be blocked in a month without a court order.”
In response to Russia’s nationwide Twitter slowdown last week, the company said, “We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding child sexual exploitation, it is against the Twitter Rules to promote, glorify or encourage suicide and self-harm, and we do not allow the use of Twitter for any unlawful behavior or to further illegal activities, including the buying and selling of drugs. We remain committed to advocating for the Open Internet around the world and deeply concerned by increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation.”