Russia Limits Access To Twitter Amidst Ukraine Invasion

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Russian regulator slows down access to Twitter across country amidst spat with Facebook over fact-checking and labelling of Russian media posts

Russia has limited access to Twitter in some parts of the country, Twitter has confirmed.

“We’re aware that Twitter is being restricted for some people in Russia and are working to keep our services safe and accessible,” the company said in a statement.

Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said the service had been restricted on leading networks, adding that there is a total or near-total restriction on Twitter in Russia.

Russia-based correspondents for news agencies such as the BBC and Reuters said access to the service had been dramatically slowed down.

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The restrictions follow Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, videos and images of which have been distributed via social media.

Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor has not so far announced any action against Twitter.

Last year the regulator slowed access to the service in Russia as a punitive action, saying it was not removing illegal content.

The social media company also said its safety and integrity teams were “disrupting attempts to amplify false and misleading information and to advance the speed and scale of our enforcement”.

Fact-checking

On Friday, a day after the invasion began, Roskomnadzor said it was partially limiting access to Meta Platforms’ Facebook, accusing the site of “censoring” Russian media.

Meta last Thursday said it had set up an operations centre to monitor content about the invasion and was independently fact-checking and labelling posts from Russian media outlets.

Meta vice-president of global affairs Sir Nick Clegg said Russian authorities had ordered the company to stop its fact-checking activities, and that Meta had refused to do so.

NetBlocks said Facebook and other Meta services such as Instagram had not so far been observably restricted, unlike Twitter.

Separately, industry watchers said the Ukrainian government and NGOs have raised millions in anonymous donations of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies over the past few days.