Google fined by Russia over illegal content breach

Russia Fine Google

A court in Moscow has fined Google 7.2bn roubles ($98m; £73m) for repeated failure to delete content deemed illegal in Russia.

Details of the offending content were not specified in the court’s press service announcement.

It is the first time in Russia that a tech giant has been fined based on annual turnover.

Google told AFP news agency that it would study the court ruling before deciding on further steps.
Russian authorities have increased pressure on tech companies this year, accusing them of not moderating their content adequately and interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

Hours after Google’s verdict was announced, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, was fined 2 billion rubles for similar content-related crimes.

This is not Google’s first run in with Russian authorities on content laws. In May, the Russian media supervisor threatened to slow down Google’s speed if it failed to eliminate 26,000 instances of illegal content, which it said was related to drugs, violence and extremism.

President Vladimir Putin has pushed for the development of a so-called sovereign Internet that would give the government more control over what its citizens can access.

Critics have accused Russia of using the campaign to suppress free speech and dissent on the Internet.

Earlier this year, Russia introduced a new law requiring all new smartphones, computers and smart devices sold in the country to be pre-installed with Russian-made software and applications.

The government said the move would help Russian technology companies compete with foreign rivals.

Fines Should Send Clear Messages.

Earlier this year, authorities criticised tech companies for failing to cancel announcements about unauthorised protests in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Russian authorities have also demanded that foreign tech giants keep personal data of Russian citizens on servers in Russia, threatening them with fines or possible bans if they don’t comply.

Alexander Khinshtein, head of the information policy committee in the lower house of the Russian parliament, said the massive fine should send a clear message to all the computer giants.

He added that Russian law provides for other forms of punishment for failing to comply with court orders, including slowing traffic and a complete blockade.

Tech Business News Editorial Team

The TBN team is a well establish group of technology industry professionals with backgrounds in IT Systems, Business Communications and Journalism.

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