A 375 million punishment has been imposed on Google by Russia for enabling ‘prohibited’ Ukraine news to appear on its platforms

“Remove forbidden information” – stuff connected to Russia’s invasion and following conflict in Ukraine — is what Russia fined Google 21.1 billion rubles (374 million) on Monday for failing to do so. Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor stated Google (especially YouTube) failed to remove information that slandered “the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” despite an injunction from a Russian court.

A press statement issued by the watchdog accused Google’s platforms of encouraging extremism and terrorist activities, as well as failing to remove “content advocating such activities.” It stated that the fine was based on the company’s annual Russian revenue, but it did not provide a percentage value for this.

The Russian telecommunications authority warned the business last month that it may face a punishment of 5 to 10 percent of its revenue for repeatedly violating local restrictions on banned material.. Google’s revenue for 2021 was estimated at 134.3 billion rubles (2.3 billion) by Interfax news agency’s Spark database of Russian enterprises. Accordingly, the company’s yearly turnover would be around 15 percent of the fine.

As a result of the company’s failure to comply with Russian legislation and delete unlawful information, Russia fined Google 7.2 billion rubles (98 million) in December of last year.

Google restricted its services following Russia’s war on Ukraine in February by halting billing on the Play Store and YouTube for Russian users, restricting Google News, halting ad sales in the country, and barring YouTube channels of state-backed media. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Cisco, and Dell are just a few of the big computer companies that have decided to decrease or completely leave their commercial operations in Russia.

Following the seizure of its bank accounts by the Russian government in May, Google’s Russia business filed for bankruptcy in July. Following the outbreak of hostilities, the business claimed to have evacuated many of its staff from Moscow.

Aside from restricting state-sponsored media channels on YouTube, the nation issued numerous warnings to the search giant over a variety of issues, including “anti-Russian” commercials.

In order to legitimise its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been launching a massive propaganda campaign. Outside and inside the nation, Russia’s activities have been sharply criticised. As a result, Russia has done everything it can to stifle news reports about the attack that are critical of its conduct. Those in the media who reported what Russia considered “false news” regarding its invasion of Ukraine may face up to 15 years in prison under a legislation introduced in March. Media outlets and social media firms such as TikTak were among those who shut down or reduced their activities in the nation as a result.

At a time when Google is also having difficulties in Europe, but for completely different reasons, the Russian troubles are particularly troubling for the search giant. Data protection issues have led to a ban on Chromebooks and Google Workspace in Danish schools. French, Italian, and Austrian data protection officials are now looking into Google Analytics’s data protection policies.