Putin threatens to BLOCK Twitter in free speech crackdown after accusing site of fuelling protests that could topple him

PUTIN has threatened to BLOCK Twitter in a chilling free speech crackdown after accusing the site of fueling protests that could topple him.

It comes after demonstrations against Putin were organised on social media, over the persecution of the president’s politician foe Alexei Navalny

Now, Twitter users in Russia will find content loading much slower, and the website could eventually be blocked.

The state’s communications regulator said this move is because Twitter refuses to remove more than 3,000 posts containing “illegal content” and that the measures are “to protect Russians.”

In their statement they said the content is not in relation to opposition protests but rather about child pronography, drug abuse, and suicide.

Now, Twitter users in Russia will find content loading much slower, and the website could eventually be blocked.

They said: “The slowing down will be applied to 100% of mobile devices and on 50% of non-mobile devices.

“If (Twitter) continues to ignore the requirements of the law, the enforcement measures will be continued… (right up to blocking it).”

According to Interfax, the move will affect photo and video content but not text.

However, many activists believe the new measures are being brought in because of recent protests.

An internet freedom advocate with the Roskomsvoboda group, Sarkis Darbinyan, told Reuters: “Of course the main motive is the increase in street protest action.” 

“It’s 10 years since the Arab spring this year… they’ve understood the internet is a driving force. 

“Any desire to control the Russian internet is connected to the desire to control the information space.”

It comes as caged Kremlin critic Navalny has overtaken Putin as Russia's most talked-about politician on social media for the first time, according to new analysis.

The 44-year-old was said to have been mentioned on social media 1.3 million times more than Putin after being detained at a Moscow airport on January 17, having recovered from a Novichok nerve agent attack.

Between the poisoned critic's arrest and last Tuesday, he was mentioned almost 10.8 million times on social media.

The data was collated from blogs and social networks such as Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook, Instagram and Telegram, as well as TikTok.

Navalny was also mentioned more than 226,000 times on national and regional media outlets — second place behind Putin's 291,000 times.

Source: Read Full Article