Press-releases, Publications

Twitter blocking

In early March, Roskomnadzor announced its intention to block Twitter in Russia due to illegal content published on the platform. Preliminarily, the agency slowed down the traffic of the social network. The Levada-Center found out the attitude of Russians to this event. 

45% of those surveyed know nothing about it, 38% have heard something, and 16% are well aware of it. 

Have you heard about the Russian authorities’ intention to block Twitter in Russia?

Young people are most aware of it: more than a half (54%) of respondents aged 18-24 know about this event, with 26% knowing it well. The percentage of those hearing about it for the first time hardly varies across age groups and is almost half of those surveyed. Only 12% of those 55 and older are well aware of the Twitter blocking.

Opinions about the reasons for the blocking are divided – 40% of respondents believe that these measures are aimed at combating extremism, 37% believe that Twitter is blocked to restrict freedom of speech. At the same time, a fifth of respondents had difficulty answering. 

Do you think the purpose of the Russian authorities’ intention to block Twitter in Russia is to fight extremism or to restrict freedom of speech?

Among young people more than a half (55%) believe these measures are aimed at restricting freedom of speech, among the generation of 55 and older there are only 28% of such, and 42% believe it is necessary to combat extremism. Among other age groups opinions were divided almost equally.

The opinion of the television audience and Internet users is very different. Almost half (47%) of television viewers believe that the measures are aimed at combating extremism, while the Internet audience is the opposite – almost half of the respondents (66% in the case of the audience of Telegram channels) believe the blocking of Twitter is a restriction on freedom of speech.

This survey was conducted March 25 – 31 2021, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1623 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%

2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%

2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%

1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

The ANO Levada Center has been included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents. Read the Director of the Levada Center’s statement of disagreement with this decision here.