Russia fines Google $475 million

A Moscow court on Monday fined US giant Google 21 billion rubles ($475 million) for failing to remove content denouncing the offensive in Ukraine, Russian telecoms police officer Roskomnadzor said With.

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The agency clarified that the YouTube video platform, owned by Google, does not block “false information” about the offensive in Ukraine, content that “propagates extremism and terrorism” or “calls on minors to participate in unauthorized demonstrations.” have.

This is a repeat conviction, and under Russian law the company was therefore fined based on “its annual turnover” in Russia, Roskomnadzor said.

In recent years, Russian authorities have ramped up their pressure on major Western digital companies with systematic fines and threats in hopes of silencing critics on the internet, one of Russia’s last remaining spaces for free speech.

However, like most Western tech giants, Google recently exited the Russian market to denounce the military offensive in Ukraine.

Industry expert Vladimir Tsykov, quoted by the Ria-Novosti news agency, said it was the largest fine ever imposed on a high-tech company in Russia.

However, according to him, the Russian authorities can “impose as many fines as they want on Google, they don’t get any money” because the American company has ceased its activities in Russia and is no longer making any profits there.

In the immediate future, Google has not responded to this historic penalty.

The Russian telecoms police officer accused Google and YouTube of “terrorist” activities in March and hinted at a possible blocking of the site in Russia, as Twitter, Instagram and many independent media outlets have done since the attack in Ukraine.

Russian authorities have strengthened the legal arsenal to control communications about the conflict, threatening up to 15 years in prison for those who spread “false information” about the Russian army. Several people are in prison on such allegations.

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