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Russian Court Threatens Google & Wikipedia With Fines

 |  April 17, 2022

A Russian court has threatened US Internet giant Google and Wikipedia owner Wikimedia Foundation with fines for failing to delete what it said was “fake” information about the Ukraine conflict, Interfax news agency reported on Friday.

Russia’s communications watchdog said on Thursday that Google would face fines over its failure to delete from video sharing site YouTube content that Moscow considers illegal.

The developments come after Russia had warned Wikipedia to take down “material with inaccurate information of public interest” on the Ukraine war on April 5. Roskomnadzor had claimed that the internet open-source website was hosting untrue data on what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Subsequently, Wikipedia was allegedly disseminating wrong details about the Russian troops’ actions in its embattled ex-Soviet neighbour.

This is not the first time Moscow has slapped strapping fines on US-based internet and social media companies, accusing them of violating online media regulations in Russian. Last December, Facebook’s parent company Meta received a 1.9 billion rouble ($27 million) court fine for “systematic failure to remove banned content” from its platform.

At the time, the Tagansky District Court too ruled that Google had neglected the provisions of Russian media laws, leading them to face an administrative penalty worth 7.2 billion roubles (approx. $98.4 million). Earlier Russia had imposed fines on social media companies but December 2021 was the first time the penalties were based on the revenues of the defendants.

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