Google hit with fine by Russian court over failure to delete content

Russian watchdog warns that Moscow could slow down Google’s traffic if it fails to comply

A Russian court on Tuesday said it had handed technology giant Google three separate fines totalling 6 million roubles (€66,658) over a failure to delete content that Moscow deems illegal.

The fines come amid a wider spat between Moscow and Google. Russia’s communications watchdog on Monday warned that Moscow could eventually slow down the company’s traffic in the country if it failed to delete prohibited content.

Russia has already placed a punitive slowdown on US social network Twitter for not deleting banned content, part of a push by Moscow to rein in western tech giants and beef up what it calls its internet “sovereignty”.

Google was found guilty of administrative offences, Moscow’s Tagansky District court said in a statement, and was ordered to pay 2 million roubles for each offence.


Google Russia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

January protests

The charges concern posts that Russia says encouraged minors to join unsanctioned protests in January, when people across Russia took to the streets to support Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny after he was detained.

Later on Tuesday the court will also consider eight reports concerning Facebook, which could lead to a total fine of up to 32 million roubles.

In April a court issued three separate fines against Twitter totalling 8.9 million roubles, over accusations it had failed to delete banned content. TikTok has also been fined for similar offences this year.

Separately, Germany's antitrust watchdog launched a probe into whether Google Germany, Google Ireland and its parent company, Alphabet, are exploiting their market dominance.

The cartel office said the investigation would consider whether the tech giant offers users enough choice in how it uses their data.