Russia fines Google for not deleting content relating to its invasion of Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine war, conflict, confrontation. Fighting between Russia and Ukraine, symbolized by national flags stained in blood, 3d illustration

The World Court of the Tagansky District of Moscow has slapped a 21 billion ruble fine on Google, which comes out at around $380K.

Google is charged with ‘violating the procedure for restricting access to information recognized as prohibited’ – in other words, for not taking down content the Russian government wants it to. The content in question relates to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which it is still calling ‘a special military operation’. An announcement by the Russian Federal Service For Supervision Of Communications, Information Technology And Mass Communications reads:

In particular, YouTube, owned by Google, did not restrict access to a number of materials containing prohibited content within the prescribed period:

– fakes about the course of a special military operation in Ukraine, discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation;

– materials promoting extremism and terrorism;

– materials promoting an indifferent attitude to the life and health of minors;

– information with appeals, including to minors, to participate in unauthorized mass actions.

The Russian governmental body claims the 21 billion ruble fine represents Google’s annual Russian turnover – however Google has largely stopped operating there commercially in response to the invasion, as many other firms have done.

The release adds: “In addition, for systematic violations of Russian law against Google, a number of coercive measures are in place: informing Internet users about a violation by a foreign company of Russian law and a ban on distributing advertising of the corporation and its information resources as an object of advertising.”

The Russian government, it being of a type to have a long list of things it doesn’t want its citizens to look at freely, has apparently hit Google with these sorts of fines before: “Google and its information resources are regularly held administratively liable for violations of Russian law in terms of failure to remove prohibited information. The total amount of fines Google for such offenses exceeds 7.2 billion rubles. Of these, 68 million rubles under Part 2 and Part 4 of Art. 13.41 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation and a turnover fine in the amount of 7.22 billion rubles for a repeated offense (the fine was recovered from the company).”

The announcement makes special note to say the previous fines were paid, however that was presumably before the current war and it may find it harder to pry any more payments out of Google in the current climate.


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