Russia’s failed Twitter throttle
Russia and Twitter haven’t really gotten along for years now. In fact, since 2017, federal censors at Roskomnadzor (RKN) have filed more than 28,000 takedown requests with the social network, and the agency complains that Twitter still grants Russian users access to 3,168 of these materials containing supposedly illegal information. In retaliation against this insubordination, RKN started throttling local Twitter traffic on March 10, 2021, leveraging the country’s growing arsenal of deep-packet-inspection systems to reduce the bandwidth available to Twitter in Russia. The policy has failed to disrupt the service for many Russian users, however, adding to RKN’s list of unsuccessful censorship efforts against major foreign companies.
For a better grasp of what happened and what went wrong, Meduza turned to Tanya Lokot, an associate professor in digital media and society at Dublin City University’s School of Communications, and Mariëlle Wijermars, an assistant professor in cyber-security and politics at Maastricht University and a visiting researcher at the University of Helsinki’s Aleksanteri Institute.