Mon, 26 Jul 2021

In social media battle, Russia again fines Facebook, Telegram

Robert Besser
14 Jun 2021, 02:39 GMT+10

MOSCOW, Russia: For the second time a Russian court has fined Facebook and Telegram for not taking down content banned by Russia.

Facebook will be forced to pay $235,000 while Telegram must pay $138,000, the Moscow court ruled. At the sentencing, it was not revealed what type of content had remained posted.

Observers note that the crackdown on western social media is part of Russia's campaign to tighten control over online political speech.

Last month, Facebook was fined $359,000 for refusing to delete posts which Russian authorities deemed "illegal".

Telegram was earlier fined $69,000.

Earlier this year, Russia slowed down the speed available to Twitter and threatened to ban the platform in Russia, claiming it had posted content related to incitement to suicide and child pornography.

Platforms including Telegram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter were widely used in January to promote opposition demonstrations in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

At that time, representatives of Telegram and Facebook were ordered to appear before Russia's media watchdog to explain why they were not removing calls to participate in "illegal mass actions".

Meanwhile, Telegram has become an increasingly popular platform in Russia.

Though it only began offering a Russian language platform in 2017, Telegram is widely used by Russian citizens and even Russian authorities regularly use Telegram to relay official messages.

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