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Russia blocks popular Twitter account that parodies close Putin ally

Source: TJournal

The Russian government has blocked a Twitter account parodying Igor Sechin, a close ally of Vladimir Putin and the head of state oil giant Rosneft, saying the account violated Sechin’s personal data.

Twitter appears to have notified the account in question, “IgorSechinEvilTween,” that it received a complaint, though the notification did not make it clear why the account is now blocked inside Russia. The parody account has more than 27,000 followers. 

Twitter’s representative in Russia, Alexey Shelestenko, said he is unaware of the reason for blocking the parody account in Russia, but denied that the decision was Twitter’s own initiative.

Twitter’s terms of service require parody accounts to identify themselves clearly, so readers don't mistake these accounts for the real thing. If the fake Sechin account violated this policy, however, it would have been suspended from Twitter worldwide, rather than blocked in a single country.

Roskomnadzor’s spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky said the account was blocked after Russian officials complained to Twitter that it violated Sechin’s personal data. Ampelonsky did not specify what constituted Sechin’s personal data in this case, or if Sechin himself was the one to register the complaint.

Ampelonsky says Roskomnadzor has taken similar measures in the past to defend the personal data of other public figures, including the mayor of Moscow and the head of Channel One, a major state television network.

Earlier this month, a similar case occurred when Russian authorities blocked the Internet portal Lurkmore, convicting the website of violating musician Valery Sutkin’s personal data by hosting an obscene Internet meme that included photographs of Sutkin.

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