Russia’s crackdown on internet freedoms reached a fever pitch this spring as the government attempted to slow Twitter traffic in response to the microblogging platform’s alleged refusal to delete banned content. Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media and internet watchdog, has been fighting with Twitter for years, this year claiming there are over 3,000 posts containing illegal information, including on suicide by minors and substance abuse. Twitter’s legal team, however, had indicated that the posts flagged as banned by Russian authorities were political.
In March, the agency retaliated with an operation to slow down internet traffic “to protect Russian citizens and coerce the internet service to obey Russian law on Russian territory.” While some users reported intermittent slowdowns on Twitter, Roskomnadzor’s operation also crashed the Kremlin’s website and those of some government bodies, including Roskomnadzor itself.
Then the state regulatory agency gave Twitter one month to delete the content in question, threatening a complete blockage of the service, as well as of other platforms that don’t comply.
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