California-based social networking site Twitter will be forced to shell out more than a hundred thousand dollars in fines, after a Russian court ruled that it had breached its obligations to delete material banned in the country.
A judge handed the company three separate penalties, totaling 8.9 million rubles ($116,800) on Friday. The Moscow Court found that the service was guilty of breaching the terms of Russia’s administrative code by failing to delete material flagged by authorities.
In March, media regulator Roskomnadzor announced that it would begin slowing Twitter’s speeds in the country over allegations it had not complied with a number of deletion requests. Officials say that they had filed more than 28,000 requests for posts to be taken down but, at the time of the decision, “3,168 pieces of content containing prohibited information… remained not deleted.” These reportedly include more than 2,500 calls for children to kill themselves and 450 involving child pornography.
Vadim Subbotin, Roskomnadzor’s deputy head, told journalists that, if “Twitter does not adequately respond to our requests – if things go on as they have been – then in a month it will be blocked without needing a court order.” However, he urged the American firm to comply with the orders and avoid a total ban. The regulator has also flagged concerns over the use of social media to promote unauthorized protests, such as those that followed the jailing of opposition figure Alexey Navalny.
In a statement at the time, the company said it was “aware of reports that Twitter is being intentionally slowed down broadly and indiscriminately in Russia due to apparent content removal concerns.” The tech firm added that it was “deeply concerned by increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation.”
Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that he was optimistic foreign-owned social media giants could learn to live within the country’s laws. “It is necessary to find a middle ground between the priorities of media freedom and regulation,” he said. “More and more life flows into it. The more life there is, the more rules there need to be. And these should be the rules of the game for everybody, including foreign companies, because the internet has no borders.”
Like this story? Share it with a friend!