Russia sues Google, Facebook, Twitter for not deleting protest content
MOSCOW, Mar 9: Russian authorities are suing five social media platforms for allegedly failing to delete posts urging children to take part in illegal protests, the Interfax news agency cited a Moscow court as saying on Tuesday.
Twitter, Google, Facebook each have three cases against them, with each violation punishable by a fine of up to 4 million roubles (around $54,000), and cases have also been filed against Tiktok and Telegram, the report said.
The cases were opened after protests nationwide over last month's jailing of Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin. Navalny and his supporters say his 30-month sentence, for alleged parole violations related to an embezzlement case, was trumped up for political reasons, something the authorities deny.
Google declined to comment on the Interfax report. Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok and Telegram did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The cases against Google, Facebook and Twitter will be heard on April 2, the agency said.
The lawsuits against the five social media giants were opened after protests were witnessed last month across the country over the jailing of the Russian opposition leader and a critic of President Vladimir Putin, Alexei Navalny. Navalny and his supporters have said that his recently announced 30-month sentence was politically instigated.
However, the allegations have been denied by the Russian authorities. Navalny has been reportedly sent to a 'notorious' penal colony outside Moscow in Kolchugino located in the Vladimir region for alleged parole violations related to an embezzlement case.
The cases were opened against, Facebook, Twitter, Google, TikTok and Telegram after on Sunday, Russia threatened Mark Zuckerberg's social media network of imposing hefty fines if the tech company failed to restore access to content posted by certain media outlets. As per Radio Liberty, the Russian mass media watchdog has accused Facebook of violating the rights of the citizens by not restoring access to the content. -REUTERS