Source: Evan James

The Russian government announced Wednesday that it’d be slowing access to Twitter because of their ostensible failure to remove illegal content, according to the New York Times.

Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media—also known as Roskomnadzor—said the Big Tech giant has failed “for years” to remove posts about child pornography, drug use, and messages that “push minors toward committing suicide.”

Roskomnadzor’s statement can be read here in Russian, or here in imperfect English by Google Translate. The quoted excerpt below was translated by the Times:

With the aim of protecting Russian citizens and forcing the internet service to follow the law on the territory of the Russian Federation, centralized reactive measures have been taken against Twitter starting March 10, 2021—specifically, the initial throttling of the service’s speeds, in accordance with the regulations.

If the internet service Twitter continues to ignore the demands of the law, measures against it will continue in accordance with the regulations, up to and including blocking it.”

Aleksandr Khinshtein, a member of the Russian Parliament, said slowing Twitter “will force all other social networks and large foreign internet companies to understand Russia won’t silently watch and swallow the flagrant ignoring of our laws.”

Twitter is not all that popular in Russia. There are already multiple Russian-developed social media networks; the biggest ones include VKontakte (VK) and OdnoKlassniki (OK). According to the New York Times, Twitter is most popular among “journalists, politicians and opposition activists,” but its use among ordinary Russians pales in comparison to YouTube and Instagram.