Russia tightens its Internet control: it fined Google and Facebook more than $ 100 million.


Russia tightens its Internet control: it fined Google and Facebook more than $ 100 million.

The Kremlin promotes sanctions against the giants of the digital sector, whom it accuses of not removing "prohibited" content.

Russia on Friday fined Google 7. 7.2 billion (approximately ً 98 million) and Meta (Facebook's parent company) a record 27 million for failing to remove "prohibited" content. This is a new ban against the giants of the digital sector in the country.

In a statement on its Telegram account, the press service of the Moscow courts specified that Google was found guilty of "recidivism" since the US giant did not remove content deemed illegal in Russia from its platforms. However, the court did not detail what content was involved.

"We are going to study the court documents to decide the measures to adopt, "Google's press service told the AFP news agency, without adding anything else.

In October, the Russian telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor threatened to approve fines for subsidiaries in Russia "between 5 and 10% of its annual turnover" in connection with the ban against Meta (Facebook's parent company). Was given, which is equal to it. Hundreds of millions of dollars. In the end, the amount was 27 million.

Fines, threats, and blockades

In September, shortly before the legislative election, Moscow forced Apple and Google to withdraw a request from their virtual stores in Russia for "electoral interference" by Alexei Navalny, who is in prison.

And they threatened to arrest their workers in Russia if they did not cooperate.

They also blocked several websites linked to Navalny, as their organizations were condemned as "extremists" by the Russian justice.

In September, Roskomnadzor announced the blocking of six virtual private networks (VPN) software, allowing access to pages prohibited in Russia.

Since 2014, Russian law has obliged Internet companies to store the data of Russian users in the country. This law made Facebook, Google, Telegram, and WhatsApp pay thousands of fines.

The Russian authorities are developing a controversial "sovereign Internet" system to isolate the Russian network from the big world servers.

In January 2021, President Vladimir Putin considered that large Internet companies were "de facto, the competence of the States" and denounced their "attempts to control society brutally."

NGOs and opponents fear that the Kremlin will seek to create a national network under its control, as is the case in China, something the government denies. So they are also increasing their presence in large Russian digital companies.

The VK technology group, controlled by a subsidiary of the energy giant Gazprom (and which created the first Russian social network "VKontakte"), announced the appointment as CEO of Vladimir Kirienko, the son of a close collaborator.