Russia has fined Google 3 million rubles — around €30,000 — for not deleting what it says is fake news about the war in Ukraine.

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

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

Google is also not new to these rulings. Last year, it was slapped with a hefty penalty of 21.1 billion rubles — over €360 million at the time — for once again failing to remove allegedly false content on the war in Ukraine.

Like many other Western technology companies, Google scaled down its activities in Russia, in part due to Western sanctions and Russian countermeasures, and in part due to pressure from the Ukrainian government to throw up a “digital blockade” to stop Russia from accessing services. Google’s local subsidiary in Russia filed for bankruptcy in 2022 because Moscow’s measures against the U.S. company made it impossible to do business there, according to the firm.

POLITICO has contacted Google for comment.





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