A court in Moscow has fined Alphabet – Google’s parent company – five fines totalling 14 million rubles, equivalent to about 138,347 pounds.
These are fines imposed by the court for violating the Russian rules on prohibited content, particularly for failing to remove it. Taganski District Court talks about five administrative fines for Google of 4 million rubles, 1.5 million rubles, 5 million rubles, 1.5 million rubles and 2 million rubles, respectively. A Google spokesperson confirmed the first two fines to Reuters news agency but did not comment further.
Russia regularly fines social media giants for not removing banned content and is also trying to force foreign tech companies to open offices in the country. It is therefore far from the first time that Google has been imposed such fines. In addition to not removing content that is inappropriate according to Russia, it sometimes also involves not proving where user data is located. Previously, Tik Tok, Facebook and Twitter were also fined in addition to Google.
According to Reuters, Google is also subject to an order from a Moscow court to unblock the YouTube account of Tsargrad TV, a Christian Orthodox channel owned by billionaire Konstantin Malofeev. He was subjected to financial sanctions from the United States and Europe in 2014 for allegedly financing pro-Russian separatists. Something Malofeev himself denies. Russia questions the legitimacy of Western sanctions.
An appeal hearing is scheduled for September 20. Tsargrad TV says it has broken off talks with Google, the owner of YouTube, in the meantime, accusing the US company of deliberately delaying the negotiations.