Russia Puts the Squeeze on Social Media to Police Its Critics
Russia’s government was quick to use social media when it tried to steer the course of U.S. elections, American officials say. It isn’t quite as eager to see its own opponents at home try the same thing. From a report: Ahead of a parliamentary vote later this year, the Kremlin has been fine-tuning its strategy to pressure platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and TikTok to remove antigovernment content, classifying a growing number of posts as illegal and issuing a flurry of takedown requests. So far it appears to be working. The Western-dominated tech giants have in many instances complied. YouTube temporarily removed links to content laying out the opposition’s voting strategy. Russian officials say Twitter is working to comply with requests to remove content that Moscow deems illegal. TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, also removed or altered a handful of videos that criticized the government and promoted opposition street protests. TikTok, Twitter and Google, the Alphabet subsidiary that owns YouTube, say they decide whether to delete content based on local laws where they operate and on their own internal guidelines. None of the companies commented on specific cases mentioned in this article.

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