Russia fines Google $365 million over YouTube videos containing ‘banned’ content

Russia has fined Google nearly $365 million (21.1 billion rubles) for failing to remove YouTube videos that violate the country’s laws, as reported earlier Reuters. In a translated press release, Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor says YouTube failed to follow orders to remove “prohibited content,” which includes videos “promoting extremism and terrorism,” as well as so-called false information about the war in Ukraine.

In March, Roskomnadzor threatened to indict Google for failing to remove “illegal” YouTube videos, saying charges would start at 8 million rubles (~$94,675 at the time), with the possibility of climbing to 20% of Google’s annual revenue. . The 21.1 billion rubles reflects part of Google’s annual revenue in the country, but it’s unclear whether Google will actually pay the fine. Google did not immediately respond to The edgerequest for comment.

Google announced plans to close its Russian operations in May, saying government authorities had seized its assets in the country and it would be “untenable” to keep the branch functional. The search giant’s Russian subsidiary officially filed for bankruptcy last month.

Russia and Google have feuded in the past. Last December, Russia fined Google $100 million for once again failing to remove banned content, but things escalated after Russia invaded Ukraine. Like many other tech companies, Google has cut off Russian customers from various services, suspended the sale of ads on Google, demonetized YouTube channels owned by Russian state-backed media, and banned access to those channels.

Raymond T. Helms