On the heels of the announcement that Twitter archives would now be available in Russian comes an announcement from Moscow that Twitter has cooperated with Czar Vladimir Putin to block access to blacklisted content in his country.
According to The Moscow Times, Twitter has “actively been engaged in cooperation” since early March with Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Mass Communications.
At the request of the information watchdog group, Twitter has already deleted one user’s account and restricted access in Russia to “five information materials” (yeah, we don’t know what that means, either).
A statement from the Federal Service offered a little more detail about what’s been restricted, including tweets “assisting the distribution of narcotics” and “promoting suicidal thoughts.”
Moreover, Russia had a little complaint to lodge about the process of negotiating with Twitter over censorship:
“The administration of Twitter had had no practice of interaction with foreign governmental bodies on the removal or restriction of illegal content, and this made the negotiations difficult.”
But, the government statement continues,
“The constructive position of the administration of the resource made it possible to formulate a mutually acceptable interaction algorithm that makes it possible to have information from the register processed within periods acceptable to the Russian side.”
It’s also worth adding that, back in November 2012, the Kremlin made an announcement that it was going to start limiting regional governors’ activity on Twitter, thanks to an embarrassing tweet about a worm in a plate at dinner in the Kremlin.
At this point, Twitter is identifying its Russian users by IP address and restricting access for those users to materials contained on the watchdog’s blacklist.
Incidentally, there is already a Change.org petition in place calling on Twitter to stop censoring tweets on behalf of the Russian government.
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