A Russian Court has on Thursday fined social media giant Twitter for failing to delete illegal content highlighted by the telecom regulator. As per reports, the US-based social media behemoth was fined 19 million roubles (around USD 259,000) in the latest development in the ongoing tussle with the Russian government.
As per a WION report, earlier, the Russian Telecom regulator Ruskomnadzor had partially halted the proposed slowdown of Twitter after Twitter agreed to deleted over 90% of content flagged as illegal by the authorities. The illegal content flagged by the Russian authorities includes content related to child pornography, drug abuse information, calls for minors to commit suicide, and such.
Officially, Twitter denies allowing its platform to be used for sharing content related to child sexual exploitation and such activities, but the US-based company’s delay in deleting such contents flagged by the Roskomnadzor had become the peg of a showdown between the Russian authorities and Twitter.
Moscow’s Tagansky District Court has informed that it has issued a financial penalty on Twitter for six different administrative offenses, totaling 19 million roubles.
Twitter was fined in April too
This is the second instance when Twitter has been penalized by the Russian government. it was penalized once before in April too. In March this year, Roskomnadzor had announced that it was slowing down the speed of Twitter in the country till May 15 following its failure to delete banned content. Back then, the government had also threatened that Twitter will face outright ban if they do not comply with Russian law.
On March 11, Roscomnadzor had announced that it is slowing down Twitter country-wide for failing to remove over 3000 posts flagged for illegal, banned content.
In a statement issued on VK, Roskomnadzor had said in March, “The slowdown applies to the delivery of audio, video content and graphics. Social network text messages are delivered without restrictions.” Vadim Subbotin, the deputy head of Roskomnadzor had stated that if Twitter doesn’t fall on the line, the authorities may decide to put a blanket ban on Twitter without even waiting for a court order.
Google, TikTok face the heat too
Other big tech companies like Google and China’s TikTok too have been facing the Russian government’s ire. On Thursday 27 May, both Google and TikTok too have received similar monetary penalties for similar offenses as Twitter, but they refused to comment. WION reported that Roskomnadzor has warned that it may move to slow down Google and Facebook too if they do not mend their ways.
Repeat offenses by the big-tech companies may enable the Russian government to seize 10% of the total annual revenues of the respective companies, but it is unclear if the Russian government is ready yet for such drastic steps, the report said.
It is notable here that Twitter is facing similar tussles with the government of India too, over its arbitrary policies and refusal to comply with Indian law.