Russia hits Big Tech with new charges for failing to delete “illegal” content

Russia filed new charges against Facebook, Google, Telegram and Twitter on Monday, alleging they failed to delete content deemed illegal, Interfax news agency reported.

Moscow has taken steps in recent months to regulate and curb the power of social media and technology giants, which the Kremlin says are to prevent foreign meddling in Russian affairs, imposing a series of fines and service slowdowns.

Three administrative charges related to a failure to remove content were registered against Alphabet’s Google at the Tagansky District Court in Moscow, Interfax cited its press office as saying, with the tech giant facing a total fine of 12 million roubles ($166,210).

Google was fined last month over posts that Moscow says encouraged minors to join unsanctioned protests in January, when people across Russia took to the streets to support Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny after he was detained.

Messaging app Telegram also faces three charges, Interfax said, and a total fine of up to 16 million roubles.

Two charges were registered against both Facebook and Twitter, which has been placed under a punitive slowdown in Russia since March.

Each faces a maximum fine of 8 million roubles.