Russia has sentenced Google to a record fine in the country, namely 7.2 billion rubles (87 million euros) for not having removed content deemed “prohibited”.
Record fine against Google in Russia
The Russian authorities continue to tighten their control over the Internet. They regularly sanction large digital companies, especially foreign ones, accused of not erasing content condoning drugs, suicide and linked to the opposition. The fine equivalent to 87 million euros which Google received is, however, unprecedented in terms of its amount.
In a statement, the press service of the Moscow courts has indicated that the Californian giant had been convicted of a repeat offense because it did not remove content deemed illegal from its platforms. The court did not specify what content it was.
“We will study the court documents and then decide on the measures to be adopted,” responded Google, without further details.
This Russian fine for Google could be followed by another against Meta (Facebook’s parent company), another digital heavyweight, tried by the same Moscow court. In October, the Russian telecoms gendarme, Roskomnadzor, threatened Meta with fines of up to 5% to 10% of the annual turnover of its subsidiary in Russia, or hundreds of millions of euros.
In addition to pressure for fines, authorities threatened to arrest Apple and Google employees in Russia if they did not cooperate. In September, just before the general elections, Russia succeeded in this way in forcing these two companies, accused of electoral interference, to withdraw from the App Store and the Play Store in Russia the application of the imprisoned opponent Alexeï Navalny.