Russian ICT regulator asks Twitter to block ‘extremist’ accounts

Watchdog chief identifies 12 accounts, calls private meeting with Twitter public policy head

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Russian ICT regulator asks Twitter to block ‘extremist’ accounts
By  Stephen McBride Published  June 24, 2014

Russia’s telecoms regulator has asked Twitter to block 12 accounts it regards as “extremist”, Reuters reported.

The request was made when Alexander Zharov, head of the country’s ICT watchdog Roskomnadzor, met with Twitter’s head of global public policy Colin Crowell.

"It does not matter where the blog has been registered ... I hope that these accounts will be deleted as soon as possible," Russian media quoted Zharov as saying after the meeting.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the meeting with Zharov had taken place, but said it had not agreed to block any accounts. The US-based microblogging firm last month blocked an account linked to far-right Ukrainian nationalists following an alleged threat from a Roskomnadzor official to shut down Twitter’s Russian operations entirely.

The Kremlin established a law earlier this year giving powers to regulators to block websites without a court order, if they were deemed either extremist or a threat to public order.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has in the past referred to the Internet as a "CIA project". Last month he signed a law requiring blogs with more than 3,000 daily visits to register with Roskomnadzor and abide by regulations governing the mass media.

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