Twitter has still not gotten in touch with Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal regulator for mass media, despite the authorities slowing down the Californian website for its refusal to delete thousands of posts with illegal material.
That’s according to Yevgeny Zaitsev, the head of the Department of Control and Supervision of Electronic Communications at the regulator, who revealed on Friday that the Russian authorities are still waiting for Twitter to get in touch.
“We are ready for dialogue. We know those who are responsible at Twitter, and they know us,” he said. “Our claims remain unanswered, no one has come out to us, there are no answers to our questions.“
“In any case, they can file counterclaims at any time in a Russian court. We are ready for any dialogue.”
Zaitsev’s comments came days after Roskomnadzor targeted Twitter in Russia for its refusal to comply with laws, with the added threat of eventually banning the social network entirely. In particular, the authorities have taken aim at the US tech giant after it ignored requests to remove more than 28,000 posts, apparently including calls for suicide and child pornography.
In response, Twitter said it was “deeply concerned by increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation.”
As of February 1, according to new Russian legislation, social networks are now required to identify and block forbidden content themselves, and should take immediate measures to restrict access to prohibited material. As well as posts that call for terrorism, promote violence, and call for unsanctioned protests, the law also includes content with foul language.
The episode is the latest in a series of conflicts between Twitter and Roskomnadzor. In February, the social network removed 100 accounts it alleged were linked to the Kremlin for “undermining faith in the NATO alliance” and “targeting the United States and European Union.” In response, the regulator demanded a list of all the affected users with explanations for why they were blocked.
That led to a strong rebuke from the Foreign Ministry, with spokesperson Maria Zakharova blasting the US tech giant as a tool of Western countries to impose a “global digital diktat.”
On March 5, Roskomnadzor announced that it would be fining not just Twitter, but foreign-based networks Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Telegram for failing to delete posts that call for teenagers to attend unauthorized protests. Two Russian websites – VKontakte and Odnoklassniki – were also fined.
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