- Facebook removed some banned content, according to Russia
- The regulator will ask the court for a fine of 5-10% on turnover anyway
- A fine would escalate internet repression
- Russia says Facebook has repeatedly broken rules
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 (Reuters) – Russia said on Tuesday that Facebook (FB.O) had complied with its requests to remove certain banned content, but that Moscow would still seek to impose a fine of 5-10% of its annual turnover to social media group. in Russia due to repeated violations of the law.
Communications regulator Roskomnadzor said Facebook had only partially heeded its calls to remove banned content and had been slow to do so as well. The regulator will still ask a court to impose the fine, he told Reuters.
Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Russia has stepped up pressure on foreign tech companies as it seeks to assert greater control over the internet in the country.
Legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin in December 2020 gave Russia the power to impose fines on ISPs based on their turnover if they repeatedly fail to remove content when we ask them. This is the first time that the law has been invoked for this offense.
Facebook and Instagram removed some content after Russia threatened to impose a fine based on Facebook’s revenue, Roskomnadzor said, but they should have done so within 24 hours of the initial notification to avoid the sanction. .
The regulator also said Facebook had not removed all of the content Moscow wanted to remove, with 1,043 items still on Facebook and 973 on Instagram.
A court will determine the amount of the fine imposed on Facebook and a hearing date will be set in due course, Roskomnadzor said. Read more
Experts quoted by the newspaper Vedomosti estimate the annual turnover of Facebook in Russia between 12 and 39 billion rubles (165 to 538 million dollars). Reuters could not independently verify these figures.
Facebook’s violations included failing to remove posts promoting drug abuse and dangerous hobbies, information about home-made weapons and explosives, as well as those from extremist or terrorist organizations, Roskomnadzor said.
Earlier this year, the regulator asked Facebook and other social media companies to remove posts containing what it said were calls for minors to participate in anti-government protests after the jailed Kremlin critic was arrested. Alexei Navalny.
Russian authorities have since called Navalny’s political movement an extremist.
Roskomnadzor has already filed 20 complaints against Facebook this year and imposed lighter fines totaling around 70 million rubles.
“The Facebook administration did not pay the fines,” Roskomnadzor said.
($ 1 = 72.5175 rubles)
Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Tom Balmforth and Jane Merriman
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