Russia sues social media companies and throttles Twitter for protests against Navalny | Science & Tech News

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Authorities in Russia are cracking down on social media companies following protests following the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

When the country’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, announced that it was throttling citizens’ access to Twitter, it accused the American company of failing to remove thousands of posts related to drugs and pornography.

A dozen complaints have been filed in a Moscow court against Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Google, who are alleged to have failed to remove content asking teenagers to participate in unauthorized protests Mr. NavalnyArrest.

Alexei Navalny draws a heart when sentenced to prison
Image:
Alexei Navalny draws a heart when sentenced to prison

Even the Russian opposition leader’s wife was sentenced to pay a fine of 20,000 rubles (£ 192.33) after participating in a protest in February calling for her husband’s release from prison.

Julia Navalnaya is punished after tens of thousands of people demonstrated in dozens of Russian cities in what was then the last round of anti-Putin protests, Chant slogans against the Russian leader and demand the release of Mr. Navalny.

In a statement from the Kremlin, the Russian government said Moscow had no desire to block anything, but stressed that companies must obey Russian law.

Putin passed a law in 2019 that gave Roskomnadzor the power to block social media platforms if they were believed to have discriminated against Russia.

When the throttling went into effect on Tuesday, some Russian government websites also went down, including those for the Kremlin and Roskomnadzor.

Officials said the outages had nothing to do with the Twitter action and were instead due to technical problems at Rostelecom, the country’s partially publicly owned internet provider.

According to the regulator, Twitter failed to remove content that encourages underage suicide, provides information on drug use, and contains indecent pictures of children.

Roskomnadzor said it has filed “over 28,000 preliminary and repeated orders to delete illegal links and publications,” 3,168 of which are unblocked.

A spokesman for Twitter said: “We know that Twitter is being deliberately largely and indiscriminately slowed down in Russia due to obvious concerns about content removal.

“Let’s be clear – we have a zero tolerance policy on the sexual exploitation of children, it is against Twitter to promote, glorify, or promote suicide and self-harm, and we allow the use of Twitter Not for unlawful conduct or for other illegal activities, including buying and selling drugs.

“We remain committed to the open internet around the world and we are deeply concerned about increased attempts to block and throttle online public calls,” they added.

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