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Russia Sent Twitter a Court Order to Ban an Account — And Twitter Complied

Twitter blocked a pro-Ukrainian Twitter account for its users in Russia on Monday, but the company wouldn't tell us why — until now.

  Source http://mashable.com/2014/05/21/russia-twitter-court-order/

The social network was responding to a Russian court order that asked Twitter to "immediately remove the information containing appeals to mass riots, extremist activities or participation in mass (public) actions held with infringement of the order established by the law."

Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor sent Twitter the court order, which the websiteChillingEffects.org first posted on Wednesday. Roskomnadzor has been on a tear this year, blocking websites that were deemed hotbeds of "extremist content."

A supervisor at Roskomnadzor reportedly demanded that Twitter delete the information, according to Russian state media, but it had "failed to satisfy these demands immediately."

The court order specifically says the Twitter account @PravyjSektorRus contains outreach and activities supporting nationalist groups including the "informal right-wing extremist group" Right Sector, and calls for illegal activity and participation in public events. The Twitter account is aligned with a Ukrainian nationalist political group called the Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) that's striving for legitimacy ahead of the May 25 presidential elections.


Recent tweets from the account included a call to join the group (embedded above), a link to anews website and a tweet about the Crimean prosecutor who has fans in the world of Japanese anime.

Twitter complied with the request as part of its Country Withheld Content policy. Users in countries not including Russia can see the account's tweets, while users who list "Russia" as their country in their account settings cannot. Here's what that looks like:

That policy, which Twitter has used to block nazi-focused tweets in Germany, and "blasphemous" tweets in Pakistan, is a part of Twitter's stated "continuing effort to make our services available to users everywhere."

A spokesperson from Twitter told Mashable that the company would not comment on individual accounts.

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