Russia fines Google, Meta record $125 mn over banned content

MOSCOW: A Moscow court has slapped Google with an unprecedented fine of nearly $100 million, while Meta (formerly Facebook) received a fine of $27 million.

In recent years Russia has been piling pressure on Western social media giants, with President Vladimir Putin saying those companies were becoming as influential as elected governments.

Moscow has repeatedly taken legal action against them for allegedly not moderating their content properly and interfering in the country’s affairs.

But so far fines on Facebook parent company Meta and Google have stretched into the tens of millions of rubles, not billions.

However on Friday a Moscow court fined Google a record 7.2 billion rubles ($98 million), while Meta (formerly Facebook) received a fine of 1.9 billion rubles ($27 million) for repeatedly failing to delete illegal content.

“For the first time, a Russian court has imposed fines that make up a share of the annual revenue of these companies in Russia,” Russia’s state communications regulator Roskomnadzor said in a statement.

The regulator said that Google and Meta had “ignored multiple demands” to remove materials that incite religious hatred and promote views of “extremist and terrorist organisations”, among other violations.