A Moscow court has ruled that Google will be fined RUB 7.2 billion (approximately Rs. 735 crore) for failing to remove content that Russia considers illegal, the first such revenue-based fine in Russia.
Moscow has increased its pressure on big technology this year, which critics say is an attempt by Russian authorities to impose stricter control over the Internet, which they say threatens individual and corporate freedom.
Google said in an email that it would read the court ruling before deciding on the next steps.
Russia has imposed small fines on foreign technology companies throughout the year, but on Friday the fines charged a percentage of a company’s annual Russian sales, drastically raising the amount of the fines.
It does not specify the percentage, although Reuters calculations show that it is equal to just 8 percent.
Russia has ordered companies to delete records promoting drug abuse and dangerous entertainment, as well as information about home-made weapons and ammunition, as well as the records of groups it identifies as terrorists or terrorists.
Google, which has been fined RUB 32 million (approximately Rs 3 crore) this year for content violations, is at odds with Moscow on a number of issues.
Russia has demanded that state-run broadcaster RT regain access to German-language channels.
Last week, a licensed Russian businessman claimed to have won a court case against Google.
Moscow has also demanded that 13 foreign and mostly US technology companies, including Google and meta platforms, be set up on Russian soil by January 1 or face potential restrictions or complete sanctions.
© Thompson Reuters 2021