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Russia fines Google for failing to remove ‘false content’ about Ukraine war

Russia has fined Google 3 million rubles, about 30,000 euros, for failing to delete what it says is fake news about the war in Ukraine.

A Moscow court found Google guilty on Thursday of failing to remove from YouTube what it considers “prohibited information” – allegedly detailing how to break into certain protected facilities – and “false information” about the “special military operation in Ukraine,” despite to have been ordered. to do so by the Russian authorities, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.

Since its full-scale invasion of the Ukraine, Russia has intensified its efforts to control online content that disagrees with its narrative. On Tuesday, the Reddit social networking site was fined for the first time for not removing “fake content”. Earlier this month, a Russian court fined Apple and Wikipedia for similar reasons. The Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, has been fined numerous times but has refused to comply with any of the demands to remove information, according to a spokesperson.

Google is not new to these rulings either. last year, was slapped with a hefty penalty of 21.1 billion rubles (more than 360 million euros at the time) for failing to once again remove allegedly false content about the war in Ukraine.

Like many other Western tech companies, Google scaled back its activities in Russia, partly due to Western sanctions and Russian countermeasures, and partly due to pressure from the Ukrainian government to launch a “digital lock” to prevent Russia from accessing the services. Local Google subsidiary in Russia archived filed for bankruptcy in 2022 because Moscow’s measures against the US company made it impossible to do business there, according to the firm.

POLITICO has contacted Google for comment.

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