Dec 24, 2021 - Technology

Russia fines Google $100 million for not removing banned content

Russian president Putin at his annual press conference.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

A Russian court fined Google $100 million Friday for "systematic failure to remove banned content," the Washington Post reported.

Why it matters: The fine — the largest ever on a Western tech company by Russia — "represents an escalation in Russia’s push to pressure foreign tech firms to comply with its increasingly strict rules on what it deems illegal content," the Post wrote.

State of play: Russia has opposed online activities by jailed opposition leader Alex Navalny and his allies. Apple and Google removed a Navalny voting app this year.

  • Russia has also slowed down the speed of Twitter's network this year and has in the past blocked the messaging app Telegram, the Post reported. Fines of tech companies however have rarely exceeded $1 million.

What they're saying: Putin said Russia “will continue insisting that our joint work with global network platforms will be in line with the Russian laws. ... If we are forced into it, we will be forced to up our demands in regard to everyone who works with such issues and ignores interests of the Russian society," the Post reported.

What's next: Google told the Post it is deciding on whether to appeal the decision.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that it's the largest Russian fine ever on a Western tech company.

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