The Russian state communications regulator announced Monday that it would be extending the punitive slowdown of Twitter traffic until May 15.
The Russian regulator had first announced the decision to slow down Twitter nearly four weeks ago in response to what it deemed as the social media platform’s failure to remove banned content such as child pornography, drug abuse and calls for suicide.
In its press release, the regulator noted that Twitter’s administration has taken steps to remove the prohibited content insofar as it “removed about 1.9 thousand of 3.1 thousand materials with child pornography, pro-narcotic and suicidal content that had not been deleted since 2017.” Further, at least 580 out of the 650 newly appeared links to prohibited content have been removed and the average removal time is 3.5 days (81 days).
While the same still falls short of the legal mandate to take down prohibited content within 24 hours from the date of receipt, for now, the Russian authorities have agreed to grant Twitter more time to remove all prohibited content and ensure compliance with the country’s laws. In talks held with Twitter on April 1, the authorities have also decided “not to proceed to the next measure,” which would be “to completely block the work of the social network on the territory of the country.”
Twitter has also affirmed a constructive conversation with the regulator last Thursday wherein it had reiterated its policy against using the platform for unlawful behavior or illegal activities. It has also confirmed that it is working with the authorities to ensure prompt action. Meanwhile, the Russian courts have not hesitated to order punitive action against the social media giant; one day after the April 1 talks, Moscow’s Tagansky District Court fined Twitter 3.2 million roubles ($41, 978) for failing to delete banned content. The same court also fined Twitter 8.9 million roubles ($116,778) for refusing to delete tweets that urged minors to participate in protests against opposition leader Alexei Navalny.