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Moscow Court Fines Facebook, Google For Failing To Delete Content Banned In Russia

Facebook was fined 26 million rubles ($353,000) by Moscow's Tagansky District Court on May 25. (file photo)

A Russian court has issued fines against Facebook and Google over their failure to delete content deemed by Moscow as illegal.

U.S.-based social-network giant Facebook was fined 26 million rubles ($353,000) by Moscow's Tagansky District Court on May 25. That case involved eight reports about material posted on Facebook that Russian authorities wanted Facebook to remove.

The same court on May 25 also levied three separate fines totaling about $82,000 against the U.S. technology giant Google. The court said Google was found guilty of "administrative offenses" and was ordered to pay 2 million rubles -- or about $27,000 -- for each offense.

The charges concern posts that Russia says encouraged minors to join unsanctioned protests in January, when people across the country took to the streets to support Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny after he was detained.

The fines come amid a wider dispute between Moscow and Google.

Russia's communications watchdog on May 24 threatened that it could eventually slow down Google's Internet traffic in the country if it fails to delete content that is prohibited by Russian authorities.

Russia has already imposed a punitive slowdown on the U.S. social network Twitter for refusing to delete content banned by the Russian government.

In April, a court issued three separate fines against Twitter totaling about $120,000 over accusations it had failed to delete banned content.

TikTok has was fined for similar offenses this year.

Moscow claims it is trying to rein in Western tech giants and bolster what it calls its Internet "sovereignty."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP