Russia chides Twitter for slow deletion of banned content

This Oct 26, 2020, photo shows the logo of US social network Twitter displayed on the screen of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southern France. (Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

MOSCOW – Russia’s communications watchdog accused Twitter on Tuesday of deleting banned content too slowly in the latest dispute between a major government and Big Tech.

Moscow said earlier this month it had slowed the speed of US-based Twitter inside Russia and on March 16 threatened to ban the social media service outright in a month over content from child pornography to drug abuse.

The Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said in a statement that Twitter was too slow in tackling illegal posts

With Twitter widely used in Russia by government opponents, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his allies, Twitter said at the time it was worried about free speech and denied that it let its platform be used to promote illegal behaviour.

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The watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said in a statement that Twitter was too slow in tackling illegal posts.

“The rate at which the social network is removing banned information is unsatisfactory,” it said. “Two thirds of material that is harmful for children remains available on Twitter.”

The watchdog said it was unacceptable to see new posts containing child pornography, suicide propaganda and information about drug use and distribution appearing on Twitter.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

READ MORE: Interfax : Russia says it offered Twitter talks after slowdown

Major social media companies have been embroiled in an increasing number of disputes around the globe, from India to Australia, as governments seek to curb their power.