MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian court fined Alphabet’s Google <GOOGL.O> 3 million roubles ($38,600) on Thursday for failing to delete YouTube videos it said promoted “LGBT propaganda” and “false information” about Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.
Over the last year Moscow has levied dozens of fines against Western tech companies as part of a drive to ramp up control over what Russian internet users see online.
As well as passing strict censorship laws shortly after it dispatched troops into Ukraine, Russia also last year strengthened its laws against what it calls the “promotion of LGBT propaganda”.
Under the new law, which widens Russia’s interpretation of what qualifies as “LGBT propaganda” and has been heavily criticised by independent human rights groups, any action or the spreading of any information that is considered an attempt to promote homosexuality in public, online, or in films, books or advertising, could incur a heavy fine.
Russian prosecutors said Google had refused to remove several videos posted on YouTube, including one from a blogger deemed a “foreign agent” by Moscow about how same-sex couples raise children and about the LGBT community in St. Petersburg, the TASS news agency reported.
The Russian subsidiary of Alphabet’s Google filed for bankruptcy last year after authorities seized its bank accounts following a December 2021 fine of 7.2 billion roubles ($92.6 million) over what Russian authorities said was the company’s “repeated failure” to delete content.
($1 = 77.7205 roubles)
(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Jake Cordell; Editing by Gareth Jones)