A Russian court on Friday fined Google $98 million for allegedly failing to remove content considered by the government to be illegal or banned in the country, and Meta about $27 million for failing to remove banned content.
The court cited repeated failures by both companies to comply with takedown orders. The fines were calculated based on annual revenue, reports Bloomberg.
The offense to fail to remove banned content is punishable with a fine of 5% to 10% of the overall revenue in a calendar year preceding the calendar year of the administrative offense, Interfax said late on Friday.
Google is studying the rules and will determine its next steps, the company’s press service in Moscow told Bloomberg in a statement.
“For some reason, the company fulfills decisions of American and European courts unquestioningly,” Anton Gorelkin, a ruling party deputy in the lower house of parliament who sits on the Information Policy committee, wrote. “If the turnover fine doesn’t bring Google to its senses, I’m afraid that some very unpleasant measures will be taken.”
The government is pushing tech companies to comply with its increasingly strict laws on localizing data storage and removing banned content. It has levied fines in an effort to slow content and force companies like Google and Meta to delete things like posts that encourage unauthorized protests and other material deemed illegal.
Interestingly, Russia has increased its attempts in recent years to restrict technology companies. Following a 2019 law, authorities upgraded the country’s systems that would allow Russia to completely cut itself off from the internet if needed, according to reports.