Russia fines Facebook and Twitter for not removing banned content


Moscow — Tuesday’s Russian court fines US social media company Facebook and Twitter for not removing content that Moscow considers illegal as part of Russia’s widespread crackdown on the Internet and Big Tech He said he did.

The Tagansky District Court said Facebook was fined five fines totaling 21 million rubles ($ 287,850). Twitter received two fines totaling 5 million rubles ($ 68,550), it said.

The court said the popular messaging app Telegram was fined 9 million rubles ($ 123,390).

There were no immediate comments on Facebook, Twitter, or Telegram.

Moscow’s actions to strengthen control of the Internet include a move requiring foreign Internet companies to open full-scale offices in Russia and store Russian personal data on their territory. increase.

On Tuesday, the government announced plans to impose new taxes on foreign-owned digital services, a move aimed at supporting the domestic technology sector.

In March, state communications regulator Roscomnadzor began to hinder Twitter’s speed because it didn’t remove banned material fast enough.

Twitter logo and Russian flag
Taken March 15, 2021, this illustrated photo shows a small toy figure in front of the Twitter logo and the colors of the Russian flag. (DadoRuvic / Illustration / Reuters)

Internet services are under increasing pressure prior to Russia’s September 17-19 parliamentary elections. Roskomnadzor is trying to block a virtual private network (VPN) and online resources linked to imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Watchdog sought to limit access to the apps that Navalny’s team would use to organize tactical or “smart” voting campaigns in elections. Navalny’s network of activists was banned during a political crackdown this summer.

Russia’s Federal Security Agency said Tuesday that it wanted to force Google in the alphabet to comply with a court order banning references to the phrase “smart voting” in keyword search systems, the Interfax news agency reported.

The Kommersant newspaper quoted sources as reporting that state court officials came to the office building late Monday to confront local Google staff. Google did not respond to requests for comment.

Alexander Mallow