Russian Court Tells Bailiffs to Collect Facebook's Fines

Issue is illegal content, including notices for unsanctioned protests
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 7, 2021 5:25 PM CDT
Russian Court Tells Bailiffs to Collect Facebook's Fines
Thousands of demonstrators turn out for an unsanctioned protest in the Russian city of Khabarovsk last year in support of the region's governor.   (AP Photo/Igor Volkov, File)

A Moscow court has ruled to enforce the collection of fines from Facebook for breaching Russian laws on illegal content, officials said Thursday. The Tagansky District Court in Russia's capital ordered bailiffs to collect 26 million rubles—over $361,000—after Facebook failed to pay the fines, court officials said. Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor has asked Russian courts to fine Facebook for not deleting content considered unlawful, the AP reports, including calls for unsanctioned anti-Kremlin protests.

The agency has levied eight fines against Facebook and ordered the company to pay a total of $1.1 million in fines so far this year, per Reuters, and said the social media company hasn't paid any. Roskomnadzor warned that it would impose much heftier fines, equal to 5% to 10% of Facebook's sales turnover in Russia over the content deemed unlawful. Russian authorities have methodically raised pressure on Western tech giants, including Twitter, Facebook, and Google, over their roles in amplifying voices of dissent. Authorities accused the platforms of failing to take down announcements for unauthorized protests, including those in support of dissident Alexei Navalny.

Facebook officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The Moscow Times quoted an estimate that Facebook makes tens of billions of rubles per year in Russia. President Vladimir Putin complained early in the year about the influence of large tech companies, saying they compete with sovereign nations. Russian officials said recently that American social media companies have interfered with parliamentary elections and called in the US ambassador to Moscow. (Read more Facebook stories.)

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