Twitter has bowed to pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin to block all content blacklisted by Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Mass Communications.
Putin’s government reports that since early March, Twitter has “actively been engaged in cooperation” with Russian authorities. Twitter has already deleted pinpointed accounts and is restricting access on the basis of “five information materials” as determined by Russian authorities.
A statement from the Kremlin praised Twitter’s cooperation with the massive censorship policy.
Negotiations on cooperation with the largest international Internet social platform as part of maintaining the register of information whose dissemination is banned in Russia had been held since the moment the first entries appeared in the register with references to those tweets. The administration of Twitter had had no practice of interaction with foreign governmental bodies on the removal or restriction of illegal content, and this made the negotiations difficult. The constructive position of the administration of the resource made it possible to formulate a mutually acceptable interaction algorithm that makes it possible to have information from the register processed within periods acceptable to the Russian side.
Calling it “under-the-radar appeasement,” Kim Zigfeld reports that Twitter has touted its efforts to work with foreign governments to allow them to censor Twitter’s content.
In June of 2010, Twitter posted a glowing account of a visit to its world headquarters by Russia’s then-President, Dmitry Medvedev.
Twitter is not the only Internet site being censored by the Russian government. The Russian telecom agency has blacklisted over 600 Russian websites, claiming that they are “harmful to children.” Banned sites include a digital library of books and wiki pages.
This new round of Internet censorship comes only a few years after Twitter was hailed for its democratizing effects and given credit for many instances of popular revolt against tyrannical governments in the Middle East.