MOSCOW — Russian authorities said Wednesday they are slowing down the speed of uploading photos and videos to Twitter over its failure to remove banned content — part of growing efforts to curb social media platforms that have played a major role in amplifying dissent.
The state communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said it began the slowdown after it said Twitter failed to remove content encouraging suicide among children and containing information about drugs and child pornography.
Twitter responded by emphasizing its policy of zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation, promotion of suicide and drug sales.
The Russian watchdog warned that if Twitter refuses to abide by Russian law, it could be blocked entirely, but it voiced hope the platform would “take a constructive stance” and comply with removing the banned content. Vadim Subbotin, deputy chief of Roskomnadzor, said in televised remarks that Twitter is the only social platform that has “openly ignored the Russian authorities’ demand to remove the banned content.”
The watchdog said the slowdown would apply to all mobile devices and 50% of desktop users nationwide.
Roskomnadzor said in a statement that Twitter has failed to remove more than 3,000 posts with the banned content, including more than 2,500 posts encouraging suicide among minors.
Twitter said in a statement that “we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding child sexual exploitation, it is against the Twitter Rules to promote, glorify or encourage suicide and self harm, and we do not allow the use of Twitter for any unlawful behaviour or to further illegal activities, including the buying and selling of drugs.”
“We remain committed to advocating for the Open Internet around the world and are deeply concerned by increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation,” the statement said.
Twitter is less popular in Russia than other social media services, with about 13 million users, or about a third of the number that Facebook has, according to data from web traffic research firm Similar Web.
But the attack on the platform could be “an artillery shot aimed, among other things, at scaring other major social media,” said Artyom Kozlyuk, head of the internet rights group Roskomsvoboda.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday the government has “no desire to block anything,” but added that it was necessary to enforce the law.
The action against Twitter comes as the authorities have criticized social media platforms that have been used to bring tens of thousands of people into the streets across Russia this year to demand the release of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The wave of demonstrations served as a major challenge to the Kremlin.
Russian authorities have assailed the platforms for failing to remove calls for children to join unsanctioned opposition protests.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged police to act more actively to monitor social platforms and to track down those who “draw the children into illegal and unsanctioned street actions.”
The move against Twitter is part of continuing efforts by the government to tighten control of the internet and the social media dating back to 2012, when a law allowing authorities to blacklist and block certain online content was adopted.
“Dozens of laws have been adopted since then that expand the categories of prohibited information, introduce new restrictions (and) expand the list of government institutions that can carry out online censorship,” Kozlyuk said.
In 2014, the authorities adopted a law requiring online services to store the personal data of Russian users on servers in Russia and have since tried to make Facebook and Twitter to comply with it. Both companies have been repeatedly fined, first small amounts of around $50 and last year the equivalent of $63,000 each, for not complying.
The government has stopped short of outright bans even though the law allows it, probably fearing the move would elicit too much public outrage. Only the social network LinkedIn, which wasn’t very popular in Russia, has been banned by the authorities for the failure to store user data in Russia.
In recent months, Russian authorities have also increasingly bristled at Facebook and Twitter, blocking Russian accounts and content, as well as Twitter labeling of government and state-affiliated media accounts. Last fall, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the two social media giants of “open censorship,” saying that “Russian media, without trial or investigation, are being labeled as allegedly unreliable, excluded from the search, blocked, and accounts are deleted.”
Two weeks ago, Roskomnadzor demanded Twitter to explain why it removed 100 accounts reportedly linked to Russia. Twitter said the accounts “amplified narratives that were aligned with the Russian government, “focused on undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability,” and targeted the United States and the European Union.
Dmitry Medvedev, who was Russia’s president in 2008-2012 when Putin had to step down because of term limits and currently is deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, complained last month that Twitter labeled his account as a government one. He said the American platform only does that “to countries, relations with which are not very simple. And they did not do this to their own politicians.”
The government’s standoff with social media platforms has been a “long process in which the stakes are regularly raised,” said Damir Gainutdinov, head of the Net Freedoms Project focusing on freedom of online speech in Russia. “The authorities show willingness to take more and more stringent measures: ‘Initially we talked to you, then we fined you, and now we will slow you down’.”
As the Russian authorities slowed down Twitter, some government websites suffered outages and access problems. It’s not clear if the events were connected, and some experts suggested they could have been the result of unrelated cyberattacks. The Ministry of Digital Development acknowledged outages on some government websites but said they were linked to equipment problems at communications provider Rostelecom.
Some experts said, however, that a possible reason for the outages could be that internet oversight staff in Russia erroneously blocked access to a wide range of web addresses while moving to enforce Roskomnadzor’s order to slow down Twitter.
In 2018, Roskomnadzor moved to block the popular messaging app Telegram over its refusal to hand over encryption keys used to scramble messages, but failed to fully block access to the app, disrupting hundreds of websites in Russia instead.
Last year, the watchdog officially withdrew the demands to restrict the app, which has been widely used by government institutions despite the ban. Experts said that while there wasn’t enough data available to definitively tie Wednesday’s outages of websites to the Twitter clampdown, it wouldn’t be surprising if the two were connected.
“I personally don’t have any doubts, especially after the situation with Telegram, that in order to achieve their political goals, the Russian authorities won’t hesitate to bring down half of the Russian internet,” Gainutdinov said.
Associated Press writers Kelvin Chan in London and Frank Bajak in Boston contributed.
Vladimir Isachenkov And Daria Litvinova, The Associated Press
Media Release – October 15, 2021 – Guelph Police – guelphpolice.ca
Girl faces child porn charges over explicit images
A Guelph teenager faces child pornography charges after explicit photos and a video of her ex-boyfriend were shared on social media.
On Thursday the Guelph Police Service was contacted by a concerned mother indicating photos of her 14-year-old son had been posted online. Investigation revealed the boy’s former girlfriend sent the images and video to her current boyfriend, who posted them on a popular social media site.
Further investigation also revealed the girl had sent the images to the victim’s father as well.
A 14-year-old Guelph female is charged with possessing child pornography and two counts of distributing child pornography. She will appear in court in December. The investigation is ongoing.
Rail worker struck, female charged
A Guelph female was charged after a railway worker was struck by a vehicle while doing traffic control Thursday morning.
Approximately 7:15 a.m. the Guelph Police Service was called to the area of Alma Street North and Crimea Street. Investigation revealed a worker was stopping traffic for an approaching train when he was struck. The worker was transported to hospital by Guelph Wellington Paramedic Service for treatment of a minor leg injury.
A 38-year-old Guelph female was charged under the Highway Traffic Act with careless driving.
Two downtown businesses entered
The Guelph Police Service is investigating after two downtown businesses had their glass doors smashed and items stolen this week.
Approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday, the owner of a business on Macdonell Street near Wyndham Street North called police after arriving at work to find the front door smashed. An undetermined amount of product was reported stolen.
The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Constable Brad Townsend at 519-824-1212, ext. 7123, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave an anonymous message for Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.
On Thursday morning, approximately 8:25 a.m., police received a call from a passerby reporting another business in the same area also had a smashed front glass door. Officers cleared the building but did not locate anyone inside. A cash register containing cash and three Samsung tablets were reported missing.
The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Constable Brett Nymeyer at 519-824-1212, ext. 7227, email him at email@example.com, leave an anonymous message for Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.
Female arrested for break and enter
A female has been arrested in connection with two break and enters at west-end apartment buildings earlier this year.
On February 12, just before 1 a.m., a female gained entry to an apartment building in the area of Paisley Road and Elmira Road South. She was observed on surveillance video stealing various items including pottery and a table. She left the building but returned a short time later driving an SUV and was able to gain access to the parking garage of an adjacent building, where she stole power tools and other items from a vehicle.
She was eventually identified based on surveillance footage and was arrested Thursday.
A 37-year-old female of no fixed address is charged with break and enter and theft under $5,000. She will appear in a Guelph bail court November 2, 2021.
Total calls for service in the last 24 hours – 219
A lot of candidates, a lot of social media – The Calgary Journal
On Monday, Calgarians will make their way to ballot boxes to cast their votes in the municipal election. The election marks a major shift for Calgary as it’s the first time in 11 years that Naheed Nenshi is not on the ballot.
The city is about to vote in a new leader and to help you keep up with all the candidates, we’ve curated their social media accounts into one place. From workout photos to puppy pictures, take a look at what Calgary’s mayoral candidates are posting online.
Facebook: Vote Ian Chiang for Mayor of Calgary
Facebook: Jan Damery for Calgary Mayor
Facebook: Jeff Davison for Mayor
Facebook: Jeromy Farkas – Standing Up For Calgarians &
Facebook: Brad Field
Facebook: Jyoti Gondek for Mayor
Facebook: Dean Hopkins for Calgary Mayor
Twitter: U E Cory Lanterman
Facebook: CORY for MAYOR
Facebook: Zane4Mayor Calgary
Facebook: Teddy4Mayor-YYC Volunteers
Twitter: SunnySinghForMAYOR YYC
Facebook: Sunny Singh(Amarpal Singh)
Facebook: Shaoli Wang(Mayoral Candidate)
Zaheed Ali Khan
Facebook: James Desautels
Instagram: desautels 4 mayor
Facebook: Mizanur Rahman
- Paul Michael Hallelujah
- Randall Kaiser
- Geoff Rainey
- Kevin J. Johnson
- Larry Heather
- Stan the Man Waciak
Media Advisory: Premier Furey, Minister Coady and Minister Haggie to Announce Mandatory Vaccination Policy – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Honourable Siobhan Coady, Deputy Premier and President of Treasury Board, and the Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, will announce the province’s mandatory vaccination policy today (Friday, October 15) at 1:00 p.m. at the Media Centre, East Block, Confederation Building.
The event will be live-streamed on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Facebook and YouTube accounts. Media covering the announcement will have the opportunity to join in person in the media centre or by teleconference. Media planning to attend this event should register with Jillian Hood (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 11:00 a.m.
Prior to the event, a technical briefing for media will be held at 12:00 p.m.
Media attending the briefing will have the opportunity to join in person in the media centre or by teleconference. Media who wish to participate in the technical briefing should RSVP to Jillian Hood (email@example.com), who will provide the details and the required information.
Media must join the teleconference at 11:45 a.m. (NST) to be included on the call. For sound quality purposes, registered media are asked to use a land line if at all possible.
Office of the Premier
Treasury Board Secretariat
Health and Community Services
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