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Twitter to take down RT, Sputnik after EU sanctions

Twitter will take down the accounts of Kremlin-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik after the EU sanctions come into force, the social network said on Wednesday.

“The European Union (EU) sanctions will likely legally require us to withhold certain content in EU member states,” a spokesperson told POLITICO. “We intend to comply with the order when it goes into effect.”

RT, formerly known as Russia Today, and Sputnik are today set to be taken off the air and offline in the EU, amid an escalating information war, as Moscow intensifies its crackdown on foreign platforms and local media. The sanction will be published in the Official Journal this morning, effectively giving legal grounds for European national media regulators to crack down on the Russian state outlets.

Pressures from European politicians on the social media companies have been growing in the last few days.

On Tuesday, French Digital Secretary of State Cédric O slammed the social media platform for not taking stronger action against the Russian outlets: “Twitter is always, always the last one to react, and always the one not to do enough on [content] moderation,” he told French radio.  

“We continue to advocate for a free and open internet, particularly in times of crisis,” said a Twitter spokesperson.

Google’s YouTube and Google News search, Meta (Facebook) and TikTok have cut access to RT and Sputnik. RT France’s Telegram channel was deactivated Tuesday in France.

Laura Kayali contributed reporting

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