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Russia Fines Google $548 Million For Hosting Prohibited Content

Russia has issued Google a fine of almost $548 million AUD (21.1 billion Russian rubles) over a failure to remove “prohibited content”.

Russia’s communications Regulator, Roskomnadzor, says that Google has failed to remove misinformation about the war, including “fake news” and videos that promote “extremism and terrorism.” There is no indication that Google will ever pay the fine.

This comes as Russia has been accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine, with the Russian bombing of Ukrainian civilians becoming a common occurrence. According to BBC News, Ukraine has identified over 21,000 possible war crimes committed during the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has increased it’s pressure on tech firms and their content in recent years, stating that the failure to moderate content interferes with national operations and internal affairs. This push to moderate social media and content has only increased since the invasion of Ukraine in February.

Roskomnadzor announced that the country would be fining Google over content violations, starting at 8 million rubles, but with the possibility for the price to reach 20 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

Google, like many companies, announced that it would no longer offer commercial services in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, whilst also increasing restrictions on Russian backed news accounts. They are however still supporting Android and Google services, as well as offering maps, YouTube and search functions, saying that doing so provides Russians with access to global information.

This is not the first time Russia has fined Google over content, after the search giant was fined $146 million AUD last December.

Google’s Russian subsidiary officially filed for bankruptcy last month.

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