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Russia fines Google again for failing to remove banned content

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A Moscow court on Thursday fined Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) 6 million roubles (or $80,881) for failing to delete content that Russia deemed illegal.

The fine is the second such penalty to be imposed on the U.S. tech giant in less than a week.

Amid a wider standoff with Big Tech, Russia has hit Google and other companies with a series of small fines in the past year, some concerning banned content and others for failing to localise user data on Russian territory.

In a move to compel foreign technology firms to open offices in Russia, President Vladimir Putin on July 1, signed a law that obliges foreign social media giants to open offices in the country.

The move was the latest attempt by Moscow to exert greater control over Big Tech.

The Russian authorities are keen to strengthen their control of the internet and to reduce their dependence on foreign companies and countries.

In particular, they have objected in the past to political opponents of the Kremlin using foreign social media platforms to organise what they say are illegal protests and to publicise politically-tinged investigations into alleged corruption.

The Tagansky District Court in Moscow said on Thursday Google had been handed three administrative fines of 2 million roubles each.

Google confirmed the fines, but offered no further comment.

The penalty was in addition to fines totalling 14 million roubles on Tuesday for the same offence.

Google is also the subject of a Moscow court order obliging it to unblock a YouTube account owned by a sanctioned Russian businessman.

An appeal hearing is scheduled for Sept. 20.



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