As its invasion of Ukraine progresses, Russia has taken steps to block access to Twitter and Russia blocks access to Twitter. The platform was nearly completely blacked out across all major domestic telecom providers, including Rostelecom and MTS, starting early Saturday morning, according to internet monitor NetBlocks. Residents and visitors to Russia can still use VPN services to access Twitter for the time being, but getting to the website directly is practically difficult.
At 11:51 a.m. ET, Twitter confirmed the reports. “We’re aware that some people in Russia have access to Twitter, and we’re trying to keep our service secure and accessible,” the firm said.
Russians are apparently still able to access Facebook and Instagram, but this may alter in the future. After Meta refused to stop fact-checking and tagging information from state-owned news organizations, the country’s telecom regulator, Roskomnadzor, began partially blocking access to Facebook on Friday. At the time, Roskomnadzor accused Facebook of infringing on “Russian citizens’ rights and freedoms.”
It’s unknown why Russia blocks access to Twitter, but all of the war films that can be found on the network may have influenced the decision. For example, Russia maintains that its airstrikes haven’t hit civilian facilities, although multiple widely circulated videos appear to contradict this claim. Those clips, along with others, appear to depict a picture of the invasion that differs significantly from the one promoted by Russian state media.
“Russia’s restriction of Twitter will considerably hamper the free flow of information at a moment when the public most needs to be informed,” said Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks, to the BBC.