Russian Court Delivers Huge Fine to Google

Meta also gets hit, for failing to delete banned content
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 24, 2021 12:15 PM CST
Russian Court Delivers Huge Fine to Google
The Google logo displayed at their offices in Granary Square, London.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

(Newser) – A Moscow court on Friday slapped Google with a nearly $100 million fine and also fined Facebook’s parent company Meta $27 million over their failure to delete content banned by local law, per the AP. The Tagansky District Court ruled that Google repeatedly neglected to remove the banned content and ordered the company to pay an administrative fine of about $98.4 million. Google said it would study the court documents before deciding on its next steps. Later Friday, the court also slapped a fine of nearly $27.2 million on Meta for failure to remove banned content as well.

Russian courts had previously imposed smaller fines on Google, Facebook, and Twitter this year, and Friday's rulings marked the first time the size of the fine was calculated based on revenue. Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said Google and Meta were specifically accused of violating the ban on distributing content that promotes extremist ideology, insults religious beliefs, and encourages dangerous behavior by minors, among other things. The agency said that Facebook and Instagram have failed to remove 2,000 items despite the courts’ requests to do so, while Google has failed to delete 2,600 such items.

Russian authorities have steadily ramped up pressure on social media platforms, accusing them of failing to purge content related to drug abuse, weapons, explosives, and extremist views. Earlier this year, authorities criticized tech companies for not deleting announcements about unsanctioned protests in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Russian authorities also have demanded that foreign tech giants store the personal data of Russian citizens on servers in Russia, threatening them with fines or possible bans if they fail to comply.

(Read more Google stories.)

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