Russia announced on Monday that it was extending a deadline for Twitter to delete illegal material by a month, to mid-May, after the social media site began cooperating when Russia’s operations were slowed.
In mid-March, state telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor placed service slowdowns on Twitter, accusing the network of failing to delete material linked to child pornography, drug use, and suicide calls for minors.
Twitter was given a month to delete the material or face a full blockage in Russia, according to the watchdog.
Critics of the Kremlin are concerned that the crackdown on Twitter and other social media is intended to silence opposition voices.
In a statement released on Monday, Roskomnadzor said that after the slowdown, Twitter had removed nearly 2,000 posts containing illegal content and was working to remove content more quickly.
The steps will be in effect until May 15, but it was decided not to fully block Twitter because the US company had “for the first time” modified the way its content moderation service operated in Russia.
Officials from Roskomnadzor spoke with Sinead McSweeney, Twitter’s vice president of public policy for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, via videolink, according to the release.
“Roskomnadzor will continue to cooperate with Twitter management until the social network completely deletes all banned information in the quickest possible manner,” the statement said.
After the slowdown began last month, Twitter denounced Russia’s attempts to “block and throttle online public conversation”.
At the time, the media conglomerate stated that it had a “zero tolerance” policy for “child sexual abuse” and that it did not encourage suicide or self-harm.
In recent months, Russia has increased its efforts to exert greater influence over online sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, with President Vladimir Putin declaring that major tech firms have become so powerful that they are now “competing” with sovereign states.
Putin’s critics accuse him of attempting to stifle dissent by obstructing attempts to organize demonstrations in favor of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN