Russia hits Google and Meta with huge fines over undeleted content

Moscow, Russia - A Russian court has imposed large fines on Google and Facebook's parent company Meta for allegedly refusing to delete "forbidden content."

Google and Meta have been fined over $100 million for their part in keeping "unauthorized content" on their platforms.
Google and Meta have been fined over $100 million for their part in keeping "unauthorized content" on their platforms.  © Collage: IMAGO/Silas Stein & ITAR-TASS

Google was ordered to pay 7.2 billion roubles – about $98 million – and Meta, which also owns Instagram, nearly 2 billion roubles, the equivalent of $27 million.

According to the court rulings cited by news agency Interfax on Friday, the amount of the fines was based for the first time on the annual turnover of the corporations in Russia, and is much larger than past fines.

Google said it wanted to study the ruling in detail before discussing further steps.

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Google and Facebook have already been fined several times in Russia, as have Twitter and TikTok.

Russian authorities have been targeting social networks more heavily since the mass protests at the beginning of the year against the imprisonment of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny.

They accuse the platforms of not consistently removing messages calling for unauthorized demonstrations, child pornography content, or suicide calls.

Activists criticize the actions as repression against Western tech companies and a free internet in Russia.

Anton Gorelkin, the deputy head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, said that "very unpleasant measures" would be taken if fines did not help.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO/Silas Stein & ITAR-TASS

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