- The Washington Times - Friday, April 2, 2021

Twitter was fined 8.9 million roubles by a Russian court Friday after censors in Moscow said the U.S. company failed to remove banned content from its social media service in violation of federal law.

Converted to U.S. currency at the current exchange rate, Twitter owes roughly $117,000 as a result of being hit with three separate fines issued by a magistrate for Tagansky District Court in Moscow.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian government’s media and communications watchdog, said Twitter was fined because it refused to remove “information urging minors to participate in unauthorized public events.”

Unauthorized protests are illegal in Russia, and a new law recently took effect requiring online service providers such as Twitter to restrict access to prohibited information or risk being punished.

“There is a great social responsibility on popular Internet platforms that are visited by hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens every day,” Roskomnadzor said in a statement it posted online in Russian. “Unrestricted access to illegal information puts the life and health of users, especially children and adolescents, at risk. Caring for the safety of users, prompt removal of prohibited content, timely moderation of calls for socially dangerous and illegal actions, according to Roskomnadzor, should have the highest priority for the administration of each of the Internet platforms.”



A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment on the rulings when reached by The Washington Times afterward. The company was given 60 days to pay the fine, Russian state media reported.

Roskomnadzor said last month that it would slow access to Twitter within Russia as a result of the company refusing to remove prohibited tweets.

At the time, a Twitter spokesperson told The Times that the company was “deeply concerned by increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation.”

Roskomnadzor has since threatened to block access to Twitter entirely.

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