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  • Chris Bratton - Tech Journalist

Russian Court Fines Google ($98m; £73m) along with content moderation warning

In Moscow, Russia, a court slapped Google with a $98 million (£73m/ 7.2 bn roubles) fine for the failure to remove 2,600 instances of unlawful content. According to BBC, the contents were related to drugs, violence and extremism.

Report from May 2021 came in the form of a warning. As Google continuously failed to cope with Russian media watchdog. They threatened to limit Google services speed which may cause a customer-related dilemma. At that time, the warning was of a small fine (£7,700 – £38,000) for the instances.

Russia roams freely and quite dominantly on the internet with popular cybersecurity culture. It is the first time a tech giant has been fined based on annual turnover. Though the verdict and court's press service failed to discuss the matter intensely, the announcement was enough to report the story.

Pressure on tech firms in Russia is gradually increasing as the country is trying to control the free flow of distributed content. Google, as a huge company, has loopholes like others. Incidents happen now and then, like a security breach, unwilling data collection, uneven distribution, or putting attention towards things going to cost a fortune. Though it won't put any dent in the tech giants' pocket, still, $98 million is $98 million.

Though Google did not send any proper response to the action, the company will take time going through Court rulings and later decide steps to take. As it's happening during the holiday season, our best guess is the decision-makers and board of lawyers are away and will be back soon.

Russia is taking firm steps on tech firms for interfering with internal affairs and content moderation policy. The prior week, Twitter was also slapped with a 3m roubles fine with similar charges. The 'sovereign' intent plan by Russian President Vladimir Putin clamped many services not following proper orders but still giving reasonable warnings to tech giants.

Daily Motion failed to negotiate terms with the country's watchdog and was later banned from the nations. It is part of the bigger plan to give the country's tech firms a chance to compete against the giants. Even upcoming smartphones will have to include pre-installed Russian apps.

Googles shares closed at $3,938.33 and Meta's Facebook at $335.24 as of 24 December, and the profit margin is at north star. Googles search engine and Facebook non-cooperation are slowly triggering anarchy in the state. Tagansky District Court in Moscow ruled the nearly $100m fine against Google. Even though the profit margin is steep for the tech giant, the November decline for website traffic was 17.64 per cent year-over-year.

Echo of Moscow radio journalist Alexander Phushev said the ruling 'may indicate the political decision to expel Western services from Russia' on his Telegram. President Putin noted 'work with global network platforms will align with the Russian laws.'

Digital rights activists determined the Russian authorities are eager to mandate foreign tech firms to open local offices in the country, being sued for internet censorship. Before the presidential election, Navalny's Smart Voting app disappeared from both Google's and Apple's online stores. The Washington Post, with the anonymity of the reporter, said Google received direct threats against staff in Russia by the authorities.

Russia is not shy from its efforts in tech, and one of the world superpowers is noted to be messed with. Every country has their terms and regulations on how people's privacy should be moderated and made accessible to them. So, the principle is not the first time Google has seen this kind of action. Once we receive further news from Google, be sure to glance at Tech News Hub, as you may find the information here.


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