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WhatsApp fined by Russia for first time for not deleting banned content

A Russian court on Thursday issued its first fine against the messenger service WhatsApp, imposing a penalty of 3 million roubles ($37,080) for allegedly failing to delete banned content. This is the first time WhatsApp has faced such action in Russia.

Previously, WhatsApp’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc was last year banned in Russia as an “extremist” organisation. Russia has also banned other Meta services, Facebook and Instagram in the country as have the likes of Twitter and Alphabet’s Google.

In addition to the recent fine for content non-deletion, WhatsApp has faced previous penalties related to its alleged non-compliance with Russian data laws, specifically the refusal to store Russian users’ data on servers within the country.

The recent fine was imposed on it due to WhatsApp’s refusal to remove information about the drug Lyrica, whose sale and manufacture are prohibited in Russia. There has been no response from Meta.

Moscow has for years clashed with Big Tech over content, censorship, data and local representation in disputes that escalated after Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

(With agency inputs)

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Updated: 01 Jun 2023, 05:43 PM IST

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