Russia Has Fined Google $100 Million For Not Banning ‘Illegal’ Content

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

This is the first time Russia has fined a technology giant based on its annual turnover.

Google told the AFP news agency that it would study the court ruling before it moves forward to the next steps.

This year, Russian authorities have been strict with tech firms. The country has accused them of not moderating their content properly and interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

A few hours after the Google verdict was announced, a 2bn rouble fine was handed to Meta, the parent company of Facebook, for similar content-related offenses.

Earlier this week, Twitter was also fined a 3m rouble for similar charges.

In May, Russia’s media watchdog had threatened to slow down the speed of Google if the company did not delete 26,000 instances of unlawful content related to drugs, violence, and extremism.

President Vladimir Putin has pushed for the development of a so-called sovereign internet, which would let the governments control what its citizens can access.

Russia has been accused by critics of using the campaign to clamp down on free speech and online dissent.

The country has blocked dozens of websites linked to jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose campaign groups have been labeled “extremist”.


Google and Apple were also forced to remove an app dedicated to Navalny’s “Smart Voting” campaign. This gave users advice on tactical voting to unseat Kremlin-aligned politicians.

Websites like LinkedIn and Dailymotion have already been blocked as they did not agree to Russia’s terms. Other six major providers of Virtual Personal Networks (VPNs) have also been banned in the country.

In the beginning of this year, Russia also introduced a new law that required all new smartphones, computers and smart devices to be sold in the country to be pre-installed with Russian-made software and apps.

The government said the move would help Russian tech firms compete with foreign rivals.

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