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American internet giants still refusing to remove 10,000 posts including child porn & terrorist materials, Russian regulator says

American internet giants still refusing to remove 10,000 posts including child porn & terrorist materials, Russian regulator says
Moscow’s media watchdog has warned that some of the world’s largest tech companies are continuing to host shocking illegal content online, despite thousands of requests from officials in the country to take down prohibited posts.

Roskomnadzor, the state internet regulator, issued an audit of illegal activity on Friday. Among the posts it takes issue with is material that features “child pornography, suicidal and pro-narcotic content, the involvement of minors in illegal activities and illegal mass events,” as well as “materials from extremist and terrorist organizations.”

California-based Twitter has seen its service speed slowed down for not complying with the demands to remove posts, with officials warning it could face a total ban in the country. Since then, the number of prohibited materials flagged on the platform has reportedly dropped from more than 6,000, although 490 pieces of illegal content remain on the site, the regulator says.

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Facebook, and its subsidiary photo-sharing site Instagram, are said to have ignored more than 3,700 takedown requests since 2015, while Silicon Valley giant Google, which owns YouTube, is still being urged to remove 5,200 items.

The officials also expressed concern that a number of Russian outlets, including RT, have faced censorship across the platforms, with content as diverse as Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space and material featuring the Russian national anthem being restricted.

In January, President Vladimir Putin warned that companies were making decisions about what to censor and what to publish with little outside accountability. “These platforms are, of course, primarily businesses,” he said, “and what is the primary concern of a business? Making a profit. They don’t care if this content or that content causes harm for the people at whom it is directed.”

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At the same time, Putin said, “we must not make decisions that would limit human freedoms – the freedom of choice and freedom of speech.”

Twitter has previously said it was “deeply concerned” by Roskomnadzor’s policies, which it said were characterized by “increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation.” However, the company has reportedly since met with officials and is working to bring its services in line with Russian rules.

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