Russia extends Twitter slowdown by one month

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The Russian authorities announced Monday that the “slowdown” of Twitter, accused of not removing “illegal” content, would continue until mid-May, but that its blocking was no longer envisaged.

In mid-March, the Russian internet and media gendarme Roskomnadzor announced the slowing down of Twitter, accused of not having removed “illegal” publications on drugs, suicide and child pornography.

Moscow had also mentioned a possible blocking of the social network on Russian territory from mid-April, if the company did not comply with its demands.

On Monday, Roskomnadzor said the US company had since deleted “about 1,900 of the 3,100 messages” concerned.

“Given the first steps taken by Twitter to change the speed and principles of its moderation in Russia, and the removal of a significant part of the banned messages, Roskomnadzor has made the decision not to block this social network in the country” , said the Russian gendarme.

However, he specifies that “the limit on Twitter traffic” will be extended until May 15, when Twitter must have erased all content deemed illegal.

The statement added that a videoconference exchange took place on April 1 between officials at Roskomnadzor and Sinead McSweeney, Twitter’s vice president of public policy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

After the announcement of its slowdown in Russia, Twitter had regretted attempts “to strangle the public conversation online”, while ensuring to have “a policy of zero tolerance in matters of sexual exploitation of children”.

Last week, Russian courts also fined Twitter around 100,000 euros for failing to suppress calls for unauthorized opposition demonstrations.

This case illustrates the growing tensions between Moscow and the major foreign social networks in recent months, with Russia denouncing their omnipotence and criticizing their moderation of content, particularly political.

Twitter, Facebook and even Google regularly receive fines, the amounts of which, some tens of thousands of euros, remain derisory compared to their profits.