Twitter Inc (TWTR) Asked To Block ‘Extremist’ Accounts In Russia

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Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), on Monday, has been asked to close dozens of accounts recognized as “extremist” by Russia telecom watchdog head, in a bid to expand its ambit of control over the international internet sites. Head of communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov, held a meeting with Colin Crowell, Twitter’s head of global public policy to discuss over the new internet regulations, according to Reuters.

Zharov said, “It does not matter where the blog has been registered … I hope that these accounts will be deleted as soon as possible.”

Twitter confirms meeting

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) spokesperson, Nu Wexler affirmed that a meeting was held to talk about the new regulations, but Twitter will not ban any accounts. Twitter accounts asked to be pulled down were not named in the report.

Just last month, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) banned an account in Russia linked to a far-right Ukrainian nationalist group, once the site received the threatening that the micro-blogging site will be pulled down completely from Russia if it does not follow the new rules under which government has free hand in blocking the sites without a court order. However, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, at that time, said that there was no such plan to ban Twitter.

New laws restrict freedom

As per the new rules, internet firms will have to set up the servers handling Russian traffic within the country and they should retain every user’s information for at least six months. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin has initiated a new law that requires blogs with more than 3,000 daily visitors to register with Roskomnadzor.

Authorities can now block the websites, which according to them are extremist or threat to public order without a court ruling. Websites that were shut down as per the new rule were of critics Alexei Navalny and Garry Kasparov because they “contained calls for illegal activity.”

Last month, Maxim Kzensov, the agency’s deputy director said that Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook do not exist in Russia from legal point of view. Search engine giant Google maintains an office in Moscow since 2005. Russia has been continuously asking internet firms to ban websites and then promote it as a victory for Russian sovereignty.

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