Russia says it is slowing down access to Twitter

MOSCOW – The Russian government said on Wednesday that it was slowing down access to Twitter, accusing it of failing to remove illegal content on the social network and hinting that the Kremlin was pursuing its offensive against US Internet companies Who have long provided a haven for freedom of expression.

It was a historic step in a country where President Vladimir V. The Internet has remained essentially independent despite Putin’s authoritarian rule. But it did not close without a hitch: As media regulators tried to slow down access to Twitter, dozens of Russian government websites went offline for nearly an hour, an accident in which some experts said the state’s move The social network stems from a technical glitch.

Russia’s telecommunications regulator said that it was reducing the load speed on Twitter for users in Russia, and many times it took longer than normal for pictures and videos to actually load. The regulator, Roskomnadzor, accused the US company of failing to remove illicit drug use or child pornography or messages “deleting posts that lead minors to suicide”.

“Centralized reactive measures have been taken against Twitter since 10 March 2021 – specifically, to speed up service, with the aim of protecting Russian citizens and forcing an Internet service to follow the law on the territory of the Russian Federation. Initial throttle, according to regulations, “the regulator said Statement.

If the Internet service Twitter continues to ignore the demands of the law, measures against it will continue to be in accordance with the rules, including blocking it.

On Wednesday, reporters told that action against Twitter, a site with a limited following in Russia, was used as a warning to other US Internet companies, a member of parliament who helped write a law , A member of parliament, Hangzhou Khinshtein.

He said that braking on Twitter traffic would “force all other social networks and big foreign Internet companies to understand that Russia will not quietly watch and swallow anyone who ignores our laws.”

He added that companies must follow Russian regulations or “lose the possibility of making money in Russia.”

Twitter – and to a large extent, Facebook’s Instagram and Google’s YouTube – have given Russians ways to speak, report and organize openly, although the Kremlin controls the television airwaves.

Those social networks played an important role in Chinese-owned Tickcock as well as anti-Kremlin protests, which this year coincided with the withdrawal and imprisonment of anti-leader Alexey A. Navalny. Mr. Navalny has some 2.5 million Twitter followers, and his investigation, published in Mr. Putin’s alleged secret palace in January, was viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube.

Russian officials claim that Silicon Valley companies discriminate against Russians by blocking certain pro-Kremlin accounts while handing over a megaphone to Kremlin critics. He has also said that the social network has refused to remove the content which attracted children in unauthorized protests in support of Mr Navalni.

In recent weeks, the Kremlin has led a fast liquor, criticizing American Internet companies, portraying foreign forces as corrupt.

“Online, we collide with children’s pornography and child prostitution, with the sale and distribution of drugs, with children and adolescents as targets.” Mr. Putin said this month. The President said that the Internet must respect the moral rules of the society in which we live – otherwise, this society will be destroyed from the inside.

Twitter has a small user base in Russia, although it is popular among journalists, politicians and opposition activists. A previous year report The estimated service had 690,000 active users in Russia, meaning the move is likely to be far less than any public backlash if the Kremlin has implemented similar limits for Instagram or YouTube.

American companies received a stern message from the Russian government, however, soon after the announcement its websites went offline for about an hour. Russian officials blamed an equipment failure, saying the outage was unrelated to the move against Twitter.

The Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media said in a statement that the problem with government sites arose from a device failure at Rostelecom, a state-run phone company and Internet service provider.

Russian agency announced in a Twitter post.

Over the weekend, US officials said they Planned to retaliate against Russia Last year for a widespread hacking attack that exploited vulnerabilities in government and corporate computer systems in the United States. Authorities said retaliation was planned in the coming weeks, but there was no immediate evidence that the boycott of Russian government websites on Wednesday was a sign of the latest volley in this cyber conclave.

Instead, commentators in Russia Spiked From another possibility: that Russian regulators had stopped work restricting access to Twitter and inadvertently shut down government websites without any external arbitration.

“Russia’s slowing pace is likely to cause government sites to crash online,” said Andrei Solatov, co-author of “Red Web” and an official of Russian Internet policy. Post. It was to be part of a warning shot at American Internet companies, he said, “failing on all fronts.”

Roscomnadzor trying to shut down the messaging app Telegram in 2018 Unknowingly blocked The service, for thousands of other websites, concerns many small businesses that used the same web hosting services as the app. Telegram remained widely available in Russia.

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