Just this past week, a Russian court ordered social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to pay a large amount of money because they refused to remove contents deemed dangerous by the country.
Google is the newest tech brand to face the Russian government’s wrath as the search giant recently got hit with a huge 7.2 billion roubles (or US$98 million) fine because it repeatedly failed to delete content Russia deems illegal.
This is increased pressure on big tech companies this year by the Russian government while critics continue to condemn the actions of the Russian government as exerting control over internet usage which would potentially threaten corporate and individual freedom.
Google said in an email it would study the court ruling before deciding on further steps.
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Russia has imposed small fines on foreign technology companies throughout this year, but Friday’s penalty marks the first time it has exacted a percentage of a company’s annual Russian turnover, greatly increasing the sum of the fine.
The government didn’t specify exactly the percentage even though a Reuter’s analysis equates it to about 8%.
Russia has ordered companies to delete posts promoting drug abuse and dangerous pastimes, information about homemade weapons and explosives, as well as ones by groups it designates as extremist or terrorist.
This year alone, the search engine giant has paid about 32 million roubles in fines over content violation as well as being at odds with the Russian government over a number of issues.
Russia has demanded it restore access to state-backed broadcaster RT’s German-language channels.
In fact, there was a recent announcement by a sanctioned Russian businessman who claimed victory over Google in a court case that could see the company being hit with another heavy fine.
Moscow has also demanded that 13 foreign and mostly U.S. technology companies, which include Google and Meta Platforms, be set up on Russian soil by Jan. 1 or face possible restrictions or outright bans.
($1 = 73.3613 roubles)