Russia fined Google $374 Million penalty for allowing banned news from Ukraine on its platforms

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Russia fined Google  $374 Million  penalty

Russia fined Google $374 Million (21.1 million rubles) Monday for failing to remove “prohibited information”, content related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent war. Roskomnadzor, the country’s telecom watchdog, stated that Google (especially YouTube) had not taken down content that discredit “the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”

In its press release, the watchdog also said that Google had not deleted “materials promoting extremism or terrorism” from its platforms. The fine was calculated on Russia’s annual turnover, but the watchdog didn’t specify any percentage.

The Russian telecommunication watchdog warned that the company could be fined 5%-10% of its total turnover for repeatedly violating local laws regarding restricted content. Data from Interfax’s Spark database of Russian companies shows that Google’s 2021 revenue was 134.3 billion rubles (or $2.3 billion). The new fine would amount to 15% of the company’s annual turnover.

Last December, Russia issued Google a first revenue-based fine in excess of 7.2 billion rubles ($98million) for failing to remove illegal content.

Google took steps to limit its services after Russia attacked Ukraine in February. These included ceasing billing on YouTube and Play Store, restricting Google News and suspending ad sales in Russia. also blocked YouTube channels from state-backed media. Other tech giants such as Apple and Amazon, Microsoft and Cisco also took steps to exit Russia.

Google’s Russia subsidiary filed bankruptcy last month, after local regulators frozen its bank accounts in May. After the fighting started, many of its employees fled Moscow.

The country did not ban YouTube or Google’s services Facebook or Instagram but it did issue repeated warnings at the search giant for several reasons, including blocking state-sponsored media’s YouTube channel and blocking anti-Russian ads.

Russia has been engaged in a propaganda war to support its unprovoked invasion Ukraine. Russia’s actions have been met by strong rebuke from both within and outside the country. In an effort to suppress criticism of its actions, Russia has tried to control the flow of information as best it can. In March , it passed a law that could land journalists in prison for reporting on what it considered “fake news” regarding its invasion of Ukraine. Many news media outlets and social media companies, such as TikTok , shut down or limited their activities in response. Also Read

Google’s Russian trials and tribulations come at a moment when it faces other problems in Europe. Authorities in Denmark have placed a ban on Chromebooks as well as Google Workspace schools due to data protection violations. Regulators are currently looking into Google Analytics’ data protection practices in France and Italy.

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