Russia said on Monday it would continue to slow down Twitter’s operations due to illegal content and threaten Facebook and YouTube with similar measures.
The state watchdog for telecommunications, Roskomnadzor, delayed Twitter’s services in mid-March, accusing it of not removing content related to child pornography, drug use, and committing suicide by minors.
The watchdog gave Twitter a month to remove the content or encounter a complete blockage in Russia. Last month, it extended the deadline to mid-May.
In a statement Monday, it said it had decided to block the service after an audit showed that Twitter had removed more than 90 percent of the “prohibited information” but would continue to slow down its operations.
Twitter “expressed its willingness and interest to build a constructive dialogue with Roskomnadzor”, the watchdog added.
It “appreciates Twitter’s efforts to meet the requirements of Russian law,” he said.
But for all restrictions to be removed, it must remove “all identified prohibited material”. It will continue to slow down Twitter on mobile devices, he added.
Roskomnadzor did not say whether it would stop slowing down Twitter’s services if the company removed the rest of the content and did not give a deadline to do so.
– Facebook, YouTube warned –
Roskomnadzor also said he had identified cases of illegal content “on other sites, including Facebook and YouTube.”
“In the event that these platforms do not take appropriate measures, similar sanctions may be imposed on them,” the watchdog said.
The measures against Twitter and other social media have expressed concern among critics of the Kremlin, who fear that the crackdown should silence opposition voices.
Last month, a Moscow court imposed three fines totaling 8.9 million rubles ($ 120,000) on Twitter for failing to remove posts urging minors to add to protests in support of Kremlin prisoner Alexei Navalny .
A court in Moscow that month also fined TikTok more than $ 30,000 for the same offense.
In January, the authorities accused foreign social media platforms of interfering in Russia’s internal affairs by not scrapping calls to rallies in support of Navalny.
President Vladimir Putin complained that month about the growing influence of big tech companies, which he said were competing with states.