Russia fines Facebook, Twitter for banned content


MOSCOW – Russia has fined Facebook and Twitter for not removing banned content, adding to numerous sanctions the government has imposed on foreign tech giants.

Russia recently tightened controls on US-based tech companies and accused them last week of interfering in parliamentary polls over the weekend.

A Moscow court slapped Facebook with five fines totaling 21 million rubles ($ 288,000), according to an official Telegram channel. The same court fined Twitter five million rubles.

READ: US antitrust authorities file new monopoly case against Facebook

Russia regularly takes legal action against Internet platforms for failing to remove content it considers illegal, such as pornographic material or posts tolerant of drugs and suicide.

Facebook has so far been fined 90 million rubles in Russia and Twitter has been fined 45 million, state news agency TASS reported.

Legal authorities also fined Google for the same offenses and also for failing to store Russian user data on domestic services.

READ: Twitter allows certain users to report “misleading” content

As part of broad efforts to bring foreign technology under its control, Russia this month also banned six major VPN providers, including Nord VPN and Express VPN.

In January, Russia demanded that social media remove posts calling on Russians to join protests in support of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, on the pretext of preventing minors from attending.

President Vladimir Putin complained this month about the growing influence of big tech companies, which he said were in competition with sovereign states.

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