Russia imposed heavy fines on Google and Meta Friday for their repeated failure to take down illegal content. A law passed earlier this year obligates social media entities to remove content deemed illegal under Russian law.
Meta was fined 2 billion rubles and Google was fined 7.2 billion rubles. This is the first time a Russian court has imposed a revenue-based fine under the new amendments to the Code of the Russian Federation about Administrative Offences. Per article 13.41, social media platforms that repeatedly fail to take down content are liable to pay fines ranging from one-twentieth to one-tenth of the total amount of revenue generated by the entity. This amount is calculated based on the revenue from the year prior to the offense. The minimum fine that can be imposed for this offense is 4 million rubles.
The Russian Federation has been cracking down on social media regulations recently. Roskomnadzor, the state communication regulator, last momth demanded 13 foreign tech companies to have “official representation” in Russia and also open accounts on the regulators website for the purposes of user feedback by the end of 2021. This follows a law enacted back in July 2021 requiring all foreign entities engaged in providing services over the internet to establish a local presence in Russia. Russia has also required social media entities to store all user data relating to Russian citizens locally.