July 22, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) -A Russian court fined U.S. social media giant Facebook 6 million roubles ($81,350) and messaging app Telegram 11 million roubles on Thursday for failing to delete illegal content, the latest salvo in a standoff between Russia and Big Tech.

Moscow has taken steps in recent months to regulate and curb the power of social media and technology giants, imposing small fines for content violations, while seeking to force foreign firms to open offices in Russia and store Russians’ personal data on its territory.

Moscow’s Tagansky District Court said it had issued Facebook with fines totalling 6 million roubles for two different administrative offences related to stipulations that website owners delete banned information or face penalties.

Telegram was fined a total of 11 million roubles for three different offences, the court said.

Facebook and Telegram did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Other countries have called upon social media firms to do more to police content. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week met with representatives of social media companies and warned that they will face fines amounting to 10% of their global revenues unless they get hate and racism off their platforms.

A Russian court is expected later on Thursday to rule on two similar accusations against Twitter, which has been subjected to a punitive slowdown in Russia since March.

($1 = 73.7530 roubles)

(Reporting by Maxim Rodionov and Alexander Marrow; editing by Andrew Osborn)

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