Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Twitter has blocked a prominent Twitter account in Russia following a government request, just one week after the company denied that it would clamp down on ‘extremist’ accounts in the country.
Global Voices reports that the @boltai account, a Russian Anonymous of sorts which regularly posts government leaks and other sensitive state documents, is no longer accessible to local users. A check on Twitter from Russia shows that the account is indeed blocked in the country — using Twitter’s location-specific censorship feature — in accordance with a request from the Russia government, which is logged at the Chilling Effects website.
A Twitter spokesperson tells TNW that the company “do[es] not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons,” but the move appears to have been in response to a lawsuit that is cited in the censorship request documents from the Russian government. A court in St. Petersburg granted the block due to an unspecified case concerning “personal data,” according to the document, although Global Voices points out that there is little information about the lawsuit in the public domain.
Users in Russia can gain access to the account by switching their global settings to a different country, while there is a mirror account (@b0ltai2) which is not blocked.
A Russia government spokesperson said last week that Twitter had agreed to block as many as 10 accounts, but at this point Chilling Effects shows only this single request.
Headline image via Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images
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