Staff Reporters
Dec 20, 2021

Meta pays nearly $230,000 fine in Russia for content violations

The Facebook parent company is among a list of tech companies fined as part of a broader crackdown on foreign tech by Moscow.

Meta pays nearly $230,000 fine in Russia for content violations

Meta has paid 17 million roubles in fines, equivalent to around US$228,400, after Facebook failed to delete content that the Russian government deems illegal, according to Reuters.

The parent company of Facebook was fined on Thursday (December 16), along with Twitter and TikTok, for failing to remove banned material from its platforms.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a comment request on Monday.

Messaging app Telegram has also settled about $201,400 in fines, according to Russan news agency Interfax. Alphabet's Google was fined about $121,000 for the same offence earlier this month.

The fines come as part of a broader clampdown on foreign social-media platforms by the Russian government, with penalties growing in severity this year.

Twitter has been subjected to a slowdown in content uploads since March over failing to remove posts containing child pornography, drug abuse information or calls for minors to commit suicide, according to the state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor.

The social-media company has denied that its platform has been used to promote illegal behaviour, when it has "a zero-tolerance policy regarding child sexual exploitation" and outlaws the promotion of suicide or self harm, or the the use of Twitter for any unlawful behaviour or to further illegal activities.

Roskomnadzor said in November that it will continue slowing down the speed of Twitter on mobile devices until all content deemed illegal is deleted. It said Twitter has "systematically ignored requests to remove banned material since 2014".

Moscow passed a law allowing authorities to blacklist and block certain online content in 2012.

Meta and Google face a court case next week for suspected repeated violations of Russia's content legislation, Reuters reports.

Beyond content regulation, Russia has also issued fines to Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp for failing to store the personal data of Russian users on local servers, a law that passed in 2014.

In August, Moscow's Tagansky district court fined Facebook about $200,000 and Twitter about $228,400 for repeat offenses, while WhatsApp was handed a fine of around $54,000 for a first-time infraction.

In September, Russia threatened to block YouTube after it removed Russian state-backed broadcaster RT's German-language channels from its site.

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