Russia’s attempts to regulate Twitter seem counterproductive


Enlarge / The head of the Russian Federal Media, Information Technology and Mass Communication Surveillance Agency (Roskomnadzor), Andrei Lipov, during a meeting with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, at the Kremlin in Moscow. Alexei Nikolsky / Russian Presidential Press and Information Office / TASS (Photo by Alexei NikolskyTASS via Getty Images)

Kentik Internet Analyst Doug Madory Was observed This morning, the traffic to ISP Rostelecom of the Russian state has decreased significantly after try to adjust Twitter. The outage appears to be caused by a poorly fabricated sub-chain in the Russian-maintained network profiler / block list tool Roskomnadzor office.

What Roskomnadzor intended was to slow down access to Twitter’s link shortening service, t.co. All the links embedded in the tweet are automatically wrapped through this service, allowing Twitter to monitor the types and quality of the links its users share.
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Russian authorities have protested Twitter for a while due to its faulty service or refusal to remove illegal content in Russia. This includes content that is illegal in most of the world and violates Twitter’s own terms of service, such as self-harm and child sex – but Roskomnadzor only asks for 2,000 or so posts. posted like that throughout a year. It seems the agency’s real sticking point are posts encouraging children to participate in opposition rallies in Russia.

Network analytics provider Kentik has noted a serious disruption to traffic to the Russian state-run ISP Rostelecom when Twitter's adjustments went into effect.
Enlarge / Network analytics provider Kentik has noted a serious disruption to traffic to the Russian state-run ISP Rostelecom when Twitter’s adjustments went into effect.

PBS report on the undesirable effects of Roskomnadzor’s Twitter tuning:

When Russian authorities slowed Twitter, some government websites were shut down and access problems. It’s not clear whether the events are interconnected, and some experts suggest they could be the result of unrelated cyber attacks. The Digital Development Department acknowledged the downtime on some government websites but said they were related to the equipment problem at media service provider Rostelecom.

Madory recorded Russian 3D artist Gregory Kodyrev with Detect a link between Twitter throttling and a much more common slowdown – apparently, Roskomnadzor accidentally blocked or throttled all domains containing the chain t.co instead of just blocking the domain t.co exactly. This will cause damper or block to be applied to – for example — microsoft.com, reddit.com, and even the Russian state-run news site rt.com.

We don’t have access to any of the IP addresses behind Roskomnadzor’s traffic filtering service to test this claim, but it does seem to be a plausible explanation for the specific observations about the drop. traffic on the network Rostelecom.





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