Russia, 21 billion rubles fine to Google for spreading news on the war in Ukraine

Russia, 21 billion rubles fine to Google for spreading news on the war in Ukraine

YouTube has ended up in the sights of the Russian authorities: according to the Kremlin it has not canceled “fake news” on the conflict

A Moscow court has fined Alphabet, the company that controls Google, for failing to remove content that Russia considers illegal. The fine is 21.1 billion rubles, equivalent to 369 million euros.

“Illegal” content – According to Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications regulator, the illegal content to be removed would be “fake news” about the war in Ukraine. Russia claims that the war is a “special military operation” which aims to increase the security of the Russian population living on Ukrainian territory.

YouTube was especially targeted by the Russian authorities, which according to the Kremlin did not delete “false news on the course of the special military operation in Ukraine, discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation”. The Kremlin also said YouTube promotes extremist views and incites children to participate in unauthorized protests.

The fight against Western media – This is not the first time that Russia has opposed the distribution of content by foreign technology platforms that do not respect its restrictions. After the start of the war in Ukraine in February, Russia blocked access to some Western social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The consequences for Google – Google, which can appeal, has not yet commented on the ruling. After receiving the fine, the bank account of Google’s Russian unit was seized. The company then filed for bankruptcy and was unable to pay staff and suppliers. Anton Gorelkin, deputy head of the parliamentary committee for information policy, said that Google is showing a demonstrative contempt for Russian law and that it risks losing the market altogether in the country.