A court in Moscow has imposed a fine of $358 million (21 billion rubles) on Google LLC for failing to restrict access to information considered prohibited in the country.
More specifically, according to an announcement by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s internet watchdog, Google, and its subsidiary YouTube, have failed to remove the following materials even after multiple requests from the Russian IT controller:
Information about the course of the “special military operation” in Ukraine, which discredits the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
Content promoting extremism and terrorism.
Content promoting harmful acts for the life and health of minors.
Information that promotes participation in unauthorized mass actions.
The Roskomnadzor has tried over the past months to enforce sanctions based on various parts of the Code of Administrative Offenses in Russia.
Last month, the organization fined 68 million rubles ($1.2 million) Google LLC for the umpteenth time for failure to remove prohibited information.
Due to the multiple violations of the same legal requirement, the following fine would be revenue-based, reaching as high as 10% of the firm’s annual turnover.
Roskomnadzor clarifies that the massive fine of $358 million was indeed calculated on the basis of the company’s annual business turnover in Russia.
In addition to the fine, Russian users of Google Search and YouTube will now see a warning about the firm violating the law and won’t be allowed to place advertisements or use them as information sources.
The same measure was taken last week against Twitch Interactive, the popular streaming platform, for not removing material prohibited by Russian authorities.
Google status in Russia
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sweeping anti-fake news laws enacted in the country, the Russian Google subsidiary, Google LLC, was forced to file for bankruptcy, claiming incapacity to continue business after a series of massive fines and, ultimately, asset confiscation.
Google’s non-paid services in Russia remain accessible, albeit with some restrictions, but firms or individuals can purchase no advertising campaigns in the country.