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Russian Court Fines Google and Facebook

Google’s fine of 7.2 billion rubles is not the only one, as Meta has been fined on the same grounds. The former Facebook will have to pay 14.3 million euros.

Google said in a statement that it would study the court decision before deciding on further steps.

Meta and Google were not the first to receive fines in Russia, as Twitter was fined two million rubles earlier this year for the same things.

This is not the first conflict between Google and the Russian authorities over the content. In May, Russia’s media regulator threatened to slow down Google if it did not delete 26,000 cases of illegal content linked to drugs, violence and extremism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pushed for the development of a so-called sovereign Internet that would give the government more control over what citizens can access. Critics have accused Russia of stifling free speech.

Roskomnadzor, the state media regulator, has blocked dozens of pages linked to jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose campaign groups have been described as “extremist”.

Google and Apple have also been forced to remove Navalny’s “Smart Voting” campaign, which advises users on tactical voting to oust politicians close to the Kremlin

Websites like LinkedIn and Dailymotion have already been blocked for refusing to cooperate with the authorities, and six major virtual private network (VPN) providers have been banned – helping users to cover online activities.

Earlier this year, Russia also introduced a new law requiring all new smartphones, computers and smartphones sold in the country to be reinstalled with Russian-made software and applications.

The government said the move would help Russian technology companies compete with foreign rivals.