Duolingo removes all LGBT content from its app in Russia

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

Duolingo sent a letter to Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor, the watchdog confirmed in a statement, saying it had “removed all materials promoting non-traditional sexual relationships”.

A screenshot from the Russian Duolingo app

A screenshot from the Russian Duolingo app

The decision came after Roskomnadzor confirmed it would check Duolingo for “LGBT propaganda” in February after a request from Radetel, a self-described “traditional values” advocacy group that found “same-sex dialogue” in the app’s lessons.

Following Radetel’s request, the head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Alexander Khinshtein, threatened to block Duolingo in Russia, adding that Duolingo should “immediately deal with this unpleasant problem”.

Duolingo’s removal of LGBT content is only the latest example of Russia’s continued censorship of the LGBT community, prompted by legislation providing for fines of up to 4 million rubles for disseminating so-called “LGBT propaganda”.

In November 2023, Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that the “international LGBT movement” qualified as an “extremist organisation”, effectively banning it and making pro-LGBT activity punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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