Russia Demands Twitter Remove “Extremist” Views

Twitter has agreed to block a number of “extremist” accounts in Russia, according to Russian authorities who are meeting with Twitter’s head of global public policy Colin Crowell today.

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Alexander Zharov, head of Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor, said a number of accounts will be blocked, including Pravy Sektor, the Ukrainian nationalist party. Zharov indicated future moves to further ban content that relates in any way to drugs, suicide, and child pornography.

“I hope the content of some extremist blogs will be deleted. It does not matter where the blog has been registered,” said Zharov.

“It is important that it is kept in a language that Russian residents understand. It concerns not only Russian users. Even if the account has been registered on the territory of Ukraine, this information would be considered extremist as well. The management of Twitter has heard us and I hope that these accounts will be deleted in the nearest time.”

President Vladimir Putin has been facing criticisms since passing a ruling in February that allows authorities to block content without a court order, potentially hindering access to information regarding Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. Roskomnadzor has previously shut down several sites including those of the opposing parties.

Colin Crowell travelled to Russia this week, the first official visit of any Twitter rep to the country, to discuss these new regulations. Twitter has eight million active users in Russia, according to Bloomberg.

Other regulatory rulings being introduced in Russia are also curbing the thoughts and opinions of bloggers and Twitter users with 3,000 followers or more.

All of these moves have been criticized by Internet giants. Google’s Eric Schmidt even likened the rulings in Russia to China.