A Moscow court has fined Alphabet’s Google 21.1 billion roubles or $373 million for a repeated failure to remove news content Russia deems illegal, such as fake news about the conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s communications regulator said.
Moscow has objected to foreign tech platforms’ distribution of news content that falls foul of its restrictions.
The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said the Tagansky District Court had fined Google 21.1 billion roubles for repeatedly failing to restrict access promptly to banned materials, and singled out YouTube for particular criticism.
It said YouTube had not deleted fakes about the course of the special military operation in Ukraine, discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
It said YouTube was permitting content promoting extremist views and calls for children to participate in unauthorised protests.
Google, which can appeal, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The fine was calculated as a share of Google’s annual turnover in Russia. It had been handed a similar 7.2 billion rouble penalty late last year.
Google’s Russian unit’s bank account has been seized, prompting the subsidiary to file for bankruptcy and making it impossible to pay staff and vendors.