Russia Fines Google $100m Over “Illegal” Content
Russia has fined Google a record-breaking $100 million after the company allegedly failed to remove banned content. A Russian court issued the financial penalty on Friday in response to Google’s lack of action against the unauthorized content. Even though the fine is one of the largest of its kind ever to be issued in a Russian court, the figure represents just 6.7% of what Google made in Russia last year. The fine was set after being informed by Russia’s internet regulator that Google’s annual revenue in 2020 exceeded $1.5 billion.
Friday’s court order is not the first time Russia has sought to financially penalize Google due to content moderation conflicts. In 2018, Google was fined over $6,000 for failing to remove content regarding opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s calls for demonstrations against Vladimir Putin. The same offense incurred similar fines in 2019 and 2020. The more significant fine issued last week may indicate that the political decision to expel Western services from Russia has been made by leading officials. Putin did not rule out blocking Western social network or internet companies from operating in Russian cyberspace. Google has ten days to appeal the penalty and has not released any information regarding its decision.