Russia walked back its threat to totally block Twitter for failing to delete banned content

Business Insider US
Twitter Russia
Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
  • Russia will extend a slowdown of Twitter until 15 May, the state communications regulatory said.
  • Russia began throttling the service in March and threatened to ban it altogether over its alleged failure to delete prohibited content.
  • The regulator said Monday that Twitter has sped up the rate of deletion.
  • See more stories on Business Insider SA's home page.

Russia's state communications regulator said on Monday it would extend its move to slow down Twitter until 15 May, but that the US social media company was deleting content banned in Russia at a faster rate than it had been.

Russia said on 10 March that it was slowing down the speed of Twitter in retaliation for what it described as a failure to remove banned content, threatening to block the US platform outright if it did not comply with its deletion demands.

Monday's statement walked back the threat of a ban. The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said Twitter had successfully begun removing content it deemed as child abuse, drug abuse, and suicide content. It said under Russian law, social networks have 24 hours to remove prohibited content, and claimed Twitter's average removal time was around 81 hours.

It added that Twitter's European policy VP, Sinead McSweeney, had held talks with Russian authorities on 1 April to explain its moderation changes.

Roskomnadzor said in its statement, translated via Google by Insider: "Taking into account the decision made by Twitter for the first time to change the principles and speed of its own moderation service in Russia and to remove a significant part of the prohibited content in this regard, Roskomnadzor decided not to proceed to the next measure - to completely block the work of the social network on the territory of the country, by extending the restriction Twitter traffic until May 15th.

"Thus, Twitter is given additional time to remove all prohibited content from the social network and bring its activities in full compliance with the laws of our country."

The news comes after a new Russian law came into effect that requires all smartphones to come pre-installed with Russian software, such as those produced by home-grown giant Yandex.

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