Russia ‘hopes’ it won’t have to ban foreign social media

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Moscow | The Kremlin “hopes” not to have to ban large foreign social networks, with which Russia is in conflict, reproaching them for their moderation of content, especially political, said a senior Russian official on Tuesday.

A first warning shot was fired at the beginning of March with the slowdown in the functioning of Twitter in Russia, which the Russian authorities accuse of not having removed “illegal” content from its platform.

Moscow has given Twitter a month to run on pain of complete blockage and several officials have implied that Facebook or YouTube may be next. The authorities denounced in particular the dissemination of content supporting the opponent who was poisoned and then imprisoned Alexeï Navalny.

“I would like to hope that we will not have to come that far and that means will be found to resolve the conflict,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the newspaper “Argoumenty i facty” on Tuesday.

“No one wants a complete ban, it would be foolish to argue for that. But we have to force these companies to respect our rules, ”he continued.

Mr. Peskov said that “no self-respecting state would allow a company to impose its conditions on it.”

Twitter is notably accused by Moscow of not having removed content inciting minors to suicide, containing child pornography or information on drug use.

The American platform rejected the Russian accusations, saying it was “very concerned” by “attempts to block and strangle public conversation online”.

Beyond this episode, Russian officials and President Vladimir Putin himself have repeatedly denounced in recent months the omnipotence of major Western social networks.