Google has been fined around $360 (21.1 billion rubles) by a Russian court for failing to remove “fake” content.

The tech giant was taken to court for failing to remove content the country deems illegal, including coverage of the war in Ukraine.

The prohibited content includes clips inciting Russian nationals to engage in protests and news deemed “fake” by Moscow.

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Censorship on Russian social media outlets is nothing new, but attempts have stepped up since the start of the Ukrainian conflict.

President Vladimir Putin issued a bill four months ago which effectively outlawed any public criticism of the war in an effort to shut down opponents while highlighting pro-Kremlin media.

Even the use of the word “war” is restricted under this regulation.

Google was fined by the Tagansky District Court in Moscow for “repeated failure” to remove the banned content. 

The Russian internet regulator Roskomnadzor singled out YouTube, which is owned by Google, for hosting anti-Russian propaganda in a Telegram post.  

Roskomnadzor said the Russian authorities have already fined Google more than $123 million (7.2 billion rubles) for similar violations.

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Last year, Russia’s internet regulator warned Google that if it did not delete unlawful information, Russia would cut off access to the company’s websites.

Since the start of the conflict, Moscow has tightened down on other tech companies on similar grounds.

In March, the Russian authorities restricted access to Facebook, making it the first American social media company barred by the Kremlin.

Even before the war, last year, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, was fined $27.5 million (2 billion rubles) for unlawful content on Facebook and Instagram.

TikTok was also fined last year for failing to remove posts Russian authorities believed encouraged youngsters to join in illegal protests.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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