Amid the Russia/Ukraine war that is ongoing, Google still continues to face the wrath of the Kremlin considering the number of penalties and fines the American tech corporation had been subjected to in recent periods.
A new report has it that the company may face a fine of 5 to 10% of its turnover in Russia for what the state communications regulator said was a repeated failure to delete banned content in the country among which are “misleading information” on YouTube about the current war in Ukraine.
If Google ends up getting fined, it will in fact be the second of its kind that the company will be facing in Russia. Back in May, Russian bailiffs seized over 7.7 billion roubles or US$143 million from Google which it had been ordered to pay as far back as last year – marking the first time Moscow had exacted a percentage of the company’s annual Russian turnover.
Just this past week, Google Russia submitted a declaration of bankruptcy, and an effort to get a comment from them about the current state of things has failed.
“The video hosting site YouTube deliberately promotes the dissemination of misleading information about the progress of the special military operation in Ukraine, discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” regulator Roskomnadzor said.
That said, the refusal of the tech giant to do as told by the Russian regulatory body could lead to a 5 to 10% of annual turnover in the country. The exact amount will have to be determined in the court.
The previous fine according to Reuters equated to about 8% of the company’s annual turnover in Russia.
The ongoing war in Ukraine which started back in February was a “special military operation” according to Russian President Vladimir Putin who says he had to defuse a threat to his country’s security as well as protect Russian speakers from persecution in Ukraine.
On the other hand, Ukraine says it’s fighting an illegal land grab by Russia and the war has cost the lives of hundreds with billions worth of properties destroyed in the process.
On Google’s end, Roskomnadzor said YouTube, a company owned by Google had permitted content promoting extremist views and calls for children to participate in unauthorized protests.
As of now, Google is said to have been fined a total of 68 million roubles, excluding the aforementioned annual turnover fines. In fact, over 7,000 banned content is said to still be on YouTube as of today and Russian regulators are not pleased.
Access to other American tech firms including Twitter and Meta’s flagship platforms such as Facebook and Instagram was restricted in Russia but Google remains operational.
A State Duma member last week said YouTube and Google had not yet “crossed the line of reasonableness”, but were involved in the information war against Russia.
In recent years, Google isn’t the only foreign-owned corporation to face the wrath of the Russian government over allegations of “misinformation” even though critics think this is an attempt to exert greater control over the Russian internet.