Russia seems to be a little strict when it comes to Internet usage within its territories. The country has officially asked Twitter to block access to several accounts that the government describes and classifies as being ‘extremist.’ This is a move to obviously gain greater control over the online sites within the nation.
According to reports, it was the communications regulator head that formally made the request. It was done through a meeting last June 23 with Colin Crowell, the head of global public policy of Twitter. The two men reportedly met to discuss Russia’s new Internet regulations.
According to sources, the Russian official was heard saying that Kremlin does not care where the account user is registered. The official reportedly reiterated the need to delete the identified Twitter accounts as soon as possible. Sources revealed that there are about a dozen Twitter accounts that are considered as ‘extremist’ by Russia. But those accounts were not identified during the meeting.
A representative from the microblogging site confirmed the meeting with the Russian official. He said that the discussion centered on the new legislation. However, Twitter did not agree to block any of the accounts identified in the meeting.
Last month, president Vladimir Putin signed the law to require blogs with over 3,000 visits daily to register and adhere to specific rules that now govern the country’s mass media.
Ironically, Kremlin is still in denial on allegations that it is for online or media censorship. It also adopted a new law earlier this year that provide authorities the power to block access to online sites that are either deemed extremist or threats to national order even without a court ruling.
Blocking sites in Russia
Among the Internet sites that were then blocked upon the implementation of new rules were those of critics to the Russian government. Those include Websites of Garry Kasparov and Alexei Navalny, which were accused of containing calls that are of illegal activities.
In May, Twitter blocked accounts in Russia that are linked to a Ukrainian nationalist group. An official from the same government agency then threatened to pull the plug on Twitter completely if it refused to comply with its new regulations that now enable Kremlin to ban Websites even without a court order.