MOSCOW -- As Russia tries to increase pressure on tech giants, a Moscow court has fined Google nearly $100 million and Meta $27 million for failing to remove content that was banned under local law.
The Tagansky District Court found that Google had repeatedly failed to remove banned content and issued an administrative fine to the company of approximately 7.2 billion rubles (about $98.5 million).
Google stated that it would review the court documents before making a decision on its next steps.
The court also assessed Meta a $27.2 million ($1.9 billion ruble) administrative penalty for failing to remove prohibited content.
Russian authorities have been increasing pressure on social media platforms and accuse them of failing purge content that is related to weapons, drug abuse, and explosives. Authorities criticised tech companies earlier this year for failing to delete announcements regarding unannounced protests supporting Alexei Navalny, a Kremlin critic.
Russian courts have previously imposed lower fines for Google, Facebook, and Twitter in the past. The Friday rulings by the Moscow court were the first to be based on revenue.
Russian authorities have also demanded that tech companies abroad store personal data about Russian citizens on Russian servers. They threatened them with possible fines and bans if they didn't comply.
Alexander Khinshtein is the head of the Russian lower house committee on information policy. He stated that the large fine should be a clear message for all IT giants.
He said that Russian law contemplates other punishments for violating court orders, such as traffic slowdowns and total blocking.