Russia accuses Twitter of violating law over failure to delete content

People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture.

Russia’s communications regulator accused Twitter on Monday of violating Russian law, saying the social media platform had not complied with some of its requests to delete banned content.

Roskomnadzor said Twitter had failed to delete 2,862 posts containing material linked to suicide, pornography and drugs since 2017. It could be fined heavily it found guilty of repeatedly failing to delete content deemed illegal under Russian law, it said.

The platform is used extensively by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his allies to criticize the authorities and announce new protests.

Twitter has been fined in the past for breaching Russia’s data laws, but the fines have so far been relatively small.

Russia in recent months has taken steps to exert more influence over foreign social media platforms.

Bills passed by the lower house of parliament in December last year allowed Russia to levy large fines on platforms that do not delete banned content and even restrict access to U.S. social media giants if they “discriminate” against Russian media.

The foreign ministry has also accused Facebook and other U.S. social media platforms of failing to identify fake posts related to unauthorized protests in support of Navalny, where police detained thousands of demonstrators nationwide.

In January, President Vladimir Putin queried what he described as the growing clout of U.S. social media giants and said their influence meant they now competed with governments.

Last month a Moscow court fined Twitter for refusing to store its server holding data about Russian citizens on Russian territory.

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