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Russia fines Facebook and Instagram for not taking down “prohibited” content

The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media of Russia (known as Roskomnadzor) said on Friday that Facebook and Instagram had been fined millions of rubles for not taking down “prohibited” content online. “The total amount of fines for not removing prohibited information is 43 million rubles. For non-compliance with the requirements of Russian data localization legislation – 4 million rubles,” Roskomnadzor said in a press release according to a machine translation. The combined fines on Facebook and Instagram translate to around Rs 4.8 crores at current exchange rates. We have reached out to Facebook for comment.

The Associated Press reported that Telegram was also fined 10 million rubles (~Rs 1 crore); Roskomnadzor’s press release does not mention the service. While it is not clear what content the messaging app was fined for, the agency said that where Facebook and Instagram were concerned, “Twenty-six cases of censorship of Russian media and information resources have been identified, including Russia Today, RBC, ITAR-TASS, Crimea 24, Stavropol, Lotus and other Russian media. Restrictions were imposed on the stream dedicated to Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space, in the RT account, RT’s “Red Fish” educational project, on materials with fragments of the Russian national anthem, etc.” (machine translation)

Google, Twitter fined

Google was fined 6 million rubles in total, though it is unclear if these fines are recent.

Since 2015, more than 5.2 thousand prohibited materials have not been removed.

The average time it takes to remove prohibited information is 82 days.

Twenty-nine cases of censorship of Russian media and information resources have been identified, including Russia Today, Russia 24, NTV, TVC, Vzglyad, Tsargrad, RIA FAN and other Russian publications. Restrictions were imposed on the documentary Beslan. Film by Alexander Rogatkin, “RZHEV. 500 days on fire, “Crimea. The Road to Homeland,” during an interview with Russian virologist Dmitry Lviv on COVID-19, videos with the Russian national anthem, etc.

The DD processing is not localized.

Google also does not remove up to 30% of malicious content from the search engine.

Eight protocols have been drawn up for not removing prohibited content. To date, the courts have considered three protocols, on which 6 million rubles of fines for not removing prohibited information are prescribed. — Roskomnadzor (machine translation)

Twitter too was fined for not complying with data localization requirements and not taking down content in accordance with orders in time, or at all. “To date, the courts have considered all protocols, the total amount of fines for not removing prohibited information is 27.9 million rubles,” the agency said. Twitter has been slowed down on Russian networks since March, as retaliation for the company’s resistance to taking content down.

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