Russia’s state communications watchdog said on Wednesday that it was limiting the use of Twitter by slowing down and accusing the social media platform of repeatedly failing to remove banned content from its website.
Roskomnadzor threatened to block the service altogether, saying that there were more than 3,000 posts that contained illegal content on it as of Wednesday.
Twitter, like other American social media, is widely used in Russia by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s ally, whose imprisonment last month sparked nationwide protests.
“The slowdown will apply to 100% of mobile devices and 50% of non-mobile devices,” the regulator said in a statement on its website.
“If (Twitter) continues to ignore the requirements of the law, enforcement measures will continue in line with the response provisions (all the way to blocking),” it said.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment via email.
Wednesday’s move comes amid growing efforts by Moscow to exert greater influence over US social media platforms and frustrations over what the authorities say is their failure to comply with Russian law.
In December last year, the lower house of parliament supported large new fines on platforms that do not remove banned content and another bill that would allow them to be restricted if they “discriminate” against Russian media.