- Russia's communications watchdog Roskomnadzor on Monday gave Google one day to remove prohibited or wanted content.
- The watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said it had sent more than 26,000 calls to Google to remove illegal information.
- Moscow has already placed a punitive slowdown on US social network Twitter for not deleting banned content.
Russia's communications watchdog Roskomnadzor on Monday gave Google 24 hours to delete what it called prohibited content failing which it would fine the tech giant and said Moscow could eventually slow down the company's traffic in the country. Russia has already placed a punitive slowdown on US social network Twitter for not deleting banned content, part of a push by Moscow to rein in Western tech giants and beef up what it calls its internet sovereignty.
"If (Google) does not restrict access to the banned information within 24 hours, it will be fined between 800,000 roubles and 4 million roubles," it said The watchdog said a repeat offense would be punishable by a fine of up to 10 per cent of the company's total annual revenue "The volume and timing of Google's failure to remove (banned) content available in Russia is such that traffic slowdowns may be imposed on the company's services," it said.
The watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said it had sent more than 26,000 calls to Google to remove illegal information, including videos containing information on drugs or violence.
Reports cited the internet regulator which said that Google had not fulfilled its obligation to exclude search results with links to "internet resources with information prohibited in our country." Among them, it said, were "sites of terrorist and extremist organizations, sites with pornographic images of minors, and also online stores selling drugs."
It also accused Google of not removing 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the banned links. The regulator said it had sent another case to court for "repeated failure to comply with this obligation." Moscow court documents showed earlier on Monday that Google was suing Roskomnadzor in court over the demands that it remove banned content.
Google filed that lawsuit on April 23, documents from Moscow's Arbitration Court showed, but it was only accepted on May 11 after some administrative issues had been ironed out. A hearing is scheduled for July 14.
In recent months, Russia has stepped up efforts to tighten control on online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Russia backed away from threats to block Twitter, saying the platform had deleted most of the banned content and showed a "readiness and interest in building a constructive dialogue." In April, a court in Moscow ordered the video-sharing app TikTok to pay fines after it failed to delete content related to illegal protests.