A court in Moscow said on December 24 that it was fining Alphabet’s Google 7.2 billion rubles ($98 million) for what it said was a repeated failure to delete content Russia deems illegal, the first revenue-based fine in this kind of case in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused social media platforms and other tech giants of flouting the country’s Internet laws, including a push to force foreign firms to open offices in Russia and store Russians’ personal data on its territory.
Many critics say the move is an attempt by Russian authorities to exert tighter control over the Internet and quell dissent.
Social media companies have already been fined hundreds of millions of rubles for content violations.
However the fines that Meta, Twitter, Google and other foreign tech giants received stretched into the tens of millions of rubles, not billions.
The Interfax news agency reported that the fine was calculated as a percentage of Google’s annual earnings.
Google said it would study the court documents and then decide on its next steps.