Data released by Twitter shows that Russia nearly tripled its requests in the past six months to remove posts critical of the government.

Twitter said in its report late on Monday that it received 89 removal requests in July-December from governmental agencies compared to 32 six months earlier as well as two court orders.

Twitter said Russian authorities quoted a law allowing the government to restrict access to "extremist" content and anything calling for unsanctioned protests.

The website also said it denied "several requests to silence popular critics" of the government as well as attempts to limit free speech.

Critics have accused the government of using the law to stifle opposition. The government has denied the claims and defended the legislation as protecting law and order.