Russia yesterday ruled that US tech giant Google, which is under increasing pressure from Moscow, broke the law by blocking and “non-transparently” deleting accounts on its YouTube video service.
The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) said that “Google’s rules for creating, suspending, and blocking accounts and circulating content on YouTube are biased in a non-transparent and unpredictable way.”
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“This leads to the sudden blocking and deletion of user accounts without warning or justification,” he said in a statement on the Telegram messaging service. It found that “such behavior harms the interests of users and also limits competition in adjacent markets”.
He ordered Google to pay a fine, the amount of which he says is still being decided. A Google representative told state news agency RIA Novosti that the US company is “awaiting the text of the decision to study it.”
In December, Moscow slapped Google with an unprecedented fine of nearly $100 million. It also fined Meta (formerly Facebook) $27 million.
In recent years, Russia has lobbied Western social media giants, with President Vladimir Putin saying these companies are becoming as influential as elected governments.
Kremlin critics have accused authorities of muzzling independent media, saying the government is cracking down on the internet, seen as Russia’s last bastion of free speech.