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Russia slaps Google with massive fine for refusing to censor Ukraine war content it considers 'fake'

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Russian Spetsnaz troops march through Moscow's Red Square during a Victory Day military parade on May 9, 2021. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
Russian Spetsnaz troops march through Moscow's Red Square during a Victory Day military parade on May 9, 2021. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
  • Russia has slapped Google with a $377 million fine for failing to regulate prohibited content.
  • Its regulator cited "fakes about the course of a special military operation in Ukraine" as an example.
  • The penalty follows a $100 million fine in December 2021 for a similar charge.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A Russian court this week slapped a fine of 21.1 billion roubles, or $377 million, on Google after the company failed to remove content about the Ukraine war that the country considers "fake" news.

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor's press release about the ruling highlighted YouTube, which is owned by Google, for not restricting access to information.

According to Roskomnadzor, Google "did not restrict access to a number of materials containing prohibited content."

As per the regulator, this included "fakes about the course of a special military operation in Ukraine" and material "discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation."

In December 2021, the Russian government also fined Google $100 million for what it said was a "systematic failure to remove banned content." At the time, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, was also fined around $27 million.

In May 2021, a Russian court also fined TikTok 3.5 million rubles — slightly over $20,000 at the time — for not censoring content on its platform.

Google is not banned in Russia, though the Kremlin blocked Facebook in March.

The latest fine for Google comes around four months after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that criminalized all opposition to the Ukraine war and effectively banned the use of the word "war" to describe the conflict.


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