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Russia World

Russian court fines Twitter on charges of failing to delete content

A Russian court fined Twitter a total of 8.9 million roubles ($116,800) on Friday over accusations that the service had failed to delete banned content.

Moscow said last month it had slowed the speed of Twitter inside Russia, and on March 16 threatened to ban the U.S. social media service outright over content that it said ranged from child pornography to drug abuse.

Twitter declined to comment on Friday. Last month it said it was worried about the Russian action’s impact on free speech, and denied that it allowed its platform to be used to promote any illegal behaviour.

The Tagansky District Court in Moscow said in a series of statements that it had issued three separate fines against Google of 3.2 million roubles, 3.3 million roubles and 2.4 million roubles.

It said the fines related to offences committed on Jan. 22-24 this year, including “violating the procedure for removing information”, all under Russia’s Administrative Offences Code.

Those dates coincided with the build up to and eruption of protests across Russia by crowds demanding the release of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Ahead of those protests, Russia had asked some social networks to stop the spread of posts encouraging minors to take part in unsanctioned rallies.

Russia has in recent months taken steps to exert more influence over foreign social media platforms.

Bills passed by the lower house of parliament in December last year allowed Russia to impose large fines on platforms that do not delete banned content and even to restrict access to U.S. social media giants if they “discriminate” against Russian media.

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