Russia Hits Google With $98m Fine Over Banned Content
Moscow has piled fines on the world’s biggest internet platforms, accusing them of not moderating their content properly and interfering in the country’s affairs.
But so far fines on Facebook parent company Meta, Twitter, Google have stretched into the tens of millions of rubles, not billions.
However on Friday, a Moscow court fined Google a record 7.2 billion rubles, ($98 million, 86 million euros), the court’s press service said on Telegram, for repeatedly failing to delete illegal content.
The content was not specified, but Russia regularly takes legal action for not removing content it labels illegal, such as pornographic material or posts condoning drugs and suicide.
“We’ll study the court documents and then decide on next steps,” Google’s press service told AFP.
Interfax news agency said that the massive fine was calculated as a percentage of Google’s annual earnings and was the maximum penalty for a repeated violation.
Meta — which has a hearing in court later today on the same charges — has also been threatened with a revenue-based fine.
On Thursday, Twitter was handed its latest fine of three million rubles ($40,000) after authorities started throttling its services in the spring.
In the past few years, the Russian government has used the pretext of protecting minors and fighting extremism to control the Russian segment of the web and began developing a so-called sovereign internet.