A Russian court fined Google nearly $ 100 million for allegedly “systematically refusing the company to remove prohibited content” after finding it guilty of repeated violations of Russian law.
The Tagansky District Court ordered Google to pay an administrative fine of about 7.2 billion rubles (roughly $ 98.4 million) or about 8% of the search giant’s annual revenue in Russia.
“In the case of an administrative offense under Part 5 of Article 13.41 of the Administrative Offenses Code, <…> LLC“ Google ”was found guilty … A punishment was imposed in the form of an administrative fine in the amount of 7,221,916,235 rubles,” Tagansky said. District court at the press service.
Google has 10 days to appeal the sanction. The company told The Verge that it “will examine the court documents when they become available and then decide on the next course of action.”
In addition to Google, on Friday, the court also fined Facebook (now Meta) nearly 2 billion rubles ($ 27.2 million) for repeatedly failing to remove content deemed illegal. The court said Google and Meta could face additional revenue-based penalties if they didn’t remove the equipment.
Over the past year, Russia has intensified its efforts to control the content available on the Internet. Earlier, Russian courts imposed lower fines on Google, Facebook and Twitter.
“This is the first time a Russian court has imposed fines that are part of the annual revenues of these companies in Russia,” said Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state communications watchdog, in a statement.
The regulator said Google and Meta “ignored several requests” to remove content that incites religious hatred and promotes the views of “extremist and terrorist organizations” and encourages dangerous behaviour by minors, including. He also accused them of not providing content related to drugs, weapons and explosives.
The agency said Facebook did not remove all of the content that Moscow wanted to remove: 1,043 items are still on Facebook and 973 items on Instagram, and Google was unable to remove 2,600 of those items. He warned that they could face additional revenue-based penalties if they do not remove prohibited content.