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WhatsApp faces punishment in Russia over allegations of failing to delete banned content: report


State-owned RIA news agency reported on Friday, citing a Moscow court, that Messenger’s WhatsApp service faces a maximum fine of 4 million Russian rubles (nearly 41,000 rupees) after Russia accused it of failing to delete banned content.

Although WhatsApp’s parent company Meta Platforms was banned last year in Russia as an “extremist” organization, the messaging app – which is hugely popular in Russia – has not previously been threatened with legal action for failing to remove banned information.

The RIA report did not specify what information WhatsApp allegedly failed to delete. She said that the administrative case was brought by the telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor.

At the start of its military campaign in Ukraine, Russia introduced tough new military censorship laws under which technology companies including Google, Wikipedia, and others have been fined.

Earlier this month, a Russian court fined Alphabet 3 million Russian rubles (nearly 31,000 rupees) for failing to remove YouTube videos it said promoted “LGBT propaganda” and “false information”. About the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.

In April, Russia moved against the Wikimedia Foundation, owner of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, for failing to remove content deemed extremist as Moscow pursues a campaign to crack down on independent sources of information.

The foundation’s Russia branch previously said it believed further fines might be canceled, but that the number of cases against it could increase, given the number of articles on Wikipedia about the conflict.

In July last year, a Moscow court imposed a fine of 18 million Russian rubles (about 2,40,00,00 rupees) on the chat service WhatsApp and a fine of 1 million rubles on the disappearing messaging platform Snapchat. The fines followed a complaint from Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state communications regulator.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.