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Duolingo Removes LGBT Content

ADH Staff WriterJune 5, 2024

Duolingo, the popular free language learning app, has removed all LGBT-related content from its platform in Russia, as reported by the state news agency TASS on Tuesday.

This action followed a letter Duolingo sent to Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulator, confirming the removal of “all materials promoting non-traditional sexual relationships.” Roskomnadzor had previously announced it would investigate Duolingo for “LGBT propaganda” after receiving a request in February from Radetel, an advocacy group promoting “traditional values” that had identified “same-sex dialogue” in the app’s lessons.

In response to Radetel’s request, Alexander Khinshtein, head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, threatened to block Duolingo in Russia unless the company addressed what he called an “unpleasant problem” immediately.

Duolingo’s removal of LGBT content is the latest example of Russia’s ongoing censorship of the LGBT community, driven by legislation that imposes fines of up to 4 million rubles for disseminating what is termed “LGBT propaganda.”

Additionally, in November 2023, Russia’s Supreme Court classified the “international LGBT movement” as an “extremist organisation.” This ruling effectively banned the movement, making pro-LGBT activities punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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