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Russian Court Fines Twitter, Google, TikTok For Refusing To Delete Content


Russia has already imposed a punitive slowdown on Twitter for refusing to delete content banned by the government in Moscow. (file photo)

A Moscow court has fined Twitter 19 million rubles ($259,000) for failing to delete content Russia deems illegal, in the latest chapter of a long-running dispute between authorities and the social network giant.

Russia has already imposed a punitive slowdown on Twitter for refusing to delete content banned by the Russian government since March, part of a broader stand-off between Moscow and big tech companies to beef up what it calls Internet sovereignty.

State communications regulator Roskomnadzor earlier this month partially halted the slowdown after Twitter deleted more than 90 percent of illegal content.

Roskomnadzor claims the content includes posts containing child pornography, drug abuse information, or calls for minors to commit suicide, accusations that Twitter denies.

The Tagansky District Court in the Russian capital said on May 27 that it issued Twitter with fines for six different administrative offenses, totaling 19 million rubles.

Twitter was also fined 8.9 million rubles in April.

TikTok and Google, which had both been fined earlier for similar offenses, received smaller fines on May 27.

Google was fined 3.5 million rubles ($47,700) for the repeated failure of the search engine operator to perform its duties.

The tech giant had already been fined 6 million rubles ($81,700) in three administrative cases on May 25 for the refusal to remove the prohibited content.

Tiktok was fined 1.5 million rubles ($20,425).

On May 25, the Tagansky court also fined Facebook over its failure to delete content deemed by Moscow as illegal.

THe U.S.-based social network giant was told to pay 26 million rubles ($353,000).

That case involved eight reports about material posted on Facebook that Russian authorities wanted Facebook to remove.

Repeat offenses can be punishable by a fine of up to 10 percent of the company's total annual revenue, Roskomnadzor has said, but it is unclear whether it would take such a step.

Roskomnadzor earlier on May 27 said it was not yet planning to slow down the speed of Google or Facebook, as it has done with Twitter, but warned it could take more radical steps.

With reporting by Reuters and TASS
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