Russia fines Twitter US$117,000 for not deleting protest posts

A crowd shine their cellphone flashlights during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia. — AP

Russia issued three fines to Twitter Inc. totalling 8.9mil rubles (about US$117,000 or RM485,023) for what authorities said was a refusal to remove content that encouraged minors to join unauthorised protests, stepping up pressure on the US social media company.

Twitter has 60 days to pay, the Interfax news service reported from a Moscow court that levied the penalties on Friday.

Russian authorities last month made content on Twitter slower to load, accusing the service of failing to take down posts related to drug use, pornography and other banned topics. On March 16, Russia’s internet watchdog threatened to fully block the service within a month if it doesn’t delete flagged content.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the fines. Previously, the company expressed concerns about attempts to throttle online conversations and said it did not allow its platform to be used to promote illegal activities.

The government has ratcheted up pressure on social media due to posts including on Twitter that promoted protests over the jailing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny earlier this year.

Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and Google are also facing the threat of fines for not removing content. – Bloomberg

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