Russian authorities have ordered Facebook and messaging app Telegram to pay hefty fines for failing to remove banned content
A Moscow court fined Facebook a total of 17 million rubles (about $236,000) and Telegram 10 million rubles ($139,000). It was not immediately clear what types of content the platforms failed to remove.
This was the second time the two companies have been fined in recent weeks. On May 25, Facebook was ordered to pay 26 million rubles ($362,000) for not removing content deemed illegal by Russian authorities. A month earlier, Telegram was also ordered to pay 5 million rubles ($69,000) for not taking calls to protest.
The action comes after Russian officials criticized the social media platform, which has been used this year to bring thousands of people to the streets across Russia, including jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin. Demand the release of the most famous critic. The wave of demonstrations has been a major challenge for the Kremlin.
Officials alleged that social media platforms failed to divert calls for children to join the protest. Putin has urged police to take more action to monitor social media platforms and track those pulling children into “illegal and unsanctioned street works”.
The Russian government’s efforts to tighten controls on the Internet and social media date back to 2012, when a law allowing authorities to blacklist and block certain online content was adopted. Since then, a growing number of sanctions targeting messaging apps, websites and social media platforms have been introduced in Russia.
The government has repeatedly threatened to block Facebook and Twitter, but vetoed an outright ban – perhaps fearing the move would spark much public outrage. Only the social network LinkedIn, which was not very popular in Russia, has been banned by the authorities in Russia for its failure to store user data.