Russia Issues Threat to Facebook: Remove 'Banned' Content or Face Huge Fines
Russian authorities demand social media giant deletes 'illegal' content
Russia's government has issued a stern threat to Facebook, warning the social media giant it will be hit with massive fines unless it removed content deemed "illegal" in Russia.
On Thursday, Russian authorities threatened to fine Facebook unless it deletes content that has been banned in Russia.
The move signals Moscow’s commitment to further crack down on social media.
Speaking to Reuters, Russia’s technology and telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor said it would send representatives to Facebook to enforce the fines.
Russia is threatening to fine the Big Tech giant for 10 percent of its Russian annual revenue until the company removes the banned content.
Roskomnadzor told Russian newspaper Vedomosti that Facebook had failed to remove politically extremist content as well as traditionally illegal content such as child pornography.
Russia declared groups linked to dissident and Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny “extremist” in June, outlawing Navalny-adjacent political parties and freezing his supporters’ bank accounts, according to The Daily Caller.
Russia had threatened Facebook and Google parent company Alphabet with fines up to 20% of their annual Russian revenue in mid-September, Bloomberg reported.
That threat came after the tech giants refused to censor content on behalf of Russia.
The threat is the latest development in Moscow’s ongoing effort to bring U.S. tech companies under its control.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday it plans to block Russians’ access to YouTube after the video platform removed two state-backed channels for spreading misinformation.
YouTube Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki also failed to deny allegations that the company had removed Navalny-related content from its platform.
Apple and Google removed a voting app linked to Navalny from their app stores in mid-September, under threat of prosecution from Russian authorities.
The app was used by Navalny supporters to coordinate voting campaigns, and was removed ahead of Russia’s parliamentary elections.
Facebook's unwillingness to remove content in Russia at the behest of the left-wing government comes in stark contrast to its actions in Western nations.
In the U.S., Mark Zuckerberg's company is often condemned for its eagerness to censor content that displeases the Left.