Google’s appeal over $50 million fine rejected by Russian court

Ever since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began, there has been a growing animosity between foreign technology companies and Russia. Most of this negativity stems from disputes about the shared information on platforms like Google and Facebook. Russia is trying to get rid of all the information it deems false and even went as far as to build a Google Play Store alternative.

Failure by the companies to remove the information results in fines and, in extreme cases, bans. While companies try to get the penalties reversed the courts side with the State and it is almost impossible to reverse them. Something similar happened with Google when the Russian court rejected its appeal over content related to Ukraine.

Google’s third rejected appeal by Russian court

Alphabet’s Google was recently fined for failing to delete information about the war in Ukraine that Russia considers false. This type of fine is not new as Russia has fined Google and other companies in the past. While the companies claim to protect freedom of speech this issue is becoming more serious.

Google was fined 4.6 billion roubles ($49.4 million) in December 2023 and they tried to appeal the fine but a court in Moscow rejected the appeal on April 10. According to Russian news agencies, Google’s failure to remove extremist content and the distribution of what Russia calls LGBT propaganda is another cause of the fine.

The fine was calculated as a share of Google’s annual turnover in Russia. What’s more, is that the company was fined similar turnover-based penalties of 7.2 billion roubles in late 2021. A fine of 21.1 billion roubles followed in 2022. Google tried to appeal both of the fines but were rejected.

Other platforms suffering similar fates

Google isn’t the only tech giant to be affected by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Popular and widely used social media platforms like Twitter and the Meta-owned platforms Facebook and Instagram are banned in Russia.

YouTube has been a particular target of Russia’s ire, especially considering how much content about the ongoing conflict it has. However, it hasn’t been banned yet and is only restricted. This decision by Russia is fairly odd, as YouTube is owned by Alphabet, just like Google.

A Russian court found Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, guilty of extremist activity last year. The reason for the conclusion was their refusal to delete messages inciting harm towards Russia due to the Ukraine conflict.

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