Russian court fines Twitter for failing to delete content

Twitter has been subjected to a punitive slowdown in Russia since March

Reuters May 28, 2021

A Russian court on Thursday fined Twitter $259,000 for failing to delete content considered illegal by Moscow, in the latest episode of a long-running dispute between Russia and the social network operator.

Twitter has been subjected to a punitive slowdown in Russia since March, part of a broader standoff between Moscow and big tech companies to beef up what it calls internet sovereignty. 

State communications regulator Roskomnadzor earlier this month partially halted the slowdown after Twitter deleted more than 90% of illegal content, which Roskomnadzor says includes posts containing child pornography, drug abuse information or calls for minors to commit suicide.

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Twitter denies allowing its platform to be used to promote illegal behaviour and says it has a zero-tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation and prohibits the promotion of suicide or self-harm. 

On Thursday, Moscow's Tagansky District Court said it issued Twitter with fines for six different administrative offences, totalling 19 million roubles.

Twitter, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, was also fined 8.9 million roubles in April.

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TikTok and Google received smaller fines on Thursday for similar offences. Google declined to comment. TikTok did not immediately respond. 

Repeat offences can be punishable by a fine of up to 10% of the company's total annual revenue, Roskomnadzor has said, but it is unclear whether it would take such a step.

Roskomnadzor earlier on Thursday said it was not yet planning to slow down the speed of Google or Facebook, as it has done with Twitter, but warned it could take more radical steps. 

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