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Russia threatens Facebook with biggest ever fine

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The fines call for “5 to 10 percent” of Facebook’s “annual revenue” total. (Representative)

Moscow:

Russia stepped up the pressure on Facebook on Tuesday, threatening to impose the biggest fine ever on the company for repeatedly ignoring requests to remove banned content.

The country’s media regulator Roskomnadzor said it has prepared a new protocol to punish the US social media giant for repeatedly failing to “repeatedly fail to remove information dangerous to citizens” on Facebook and Instagram.

It said the penalty calls for a total of “5 to 10 percent” of Facebook’s “annual revenue” — though it did not specify whether this meant revenue earned in Russia or around the world.

According to the Vedomosti business daily, Facebook earns tens of billions of rubles per year in Russia.

Roskomnadzor said a court would determine when to schedule a hearing.

“The exact amount of the fine will also be determined by the court,” the media regulator said in a statement.

Russia regularly takes legal action against Internet platforms because it does not remove content that is labeled illegal, such as pornographic material or posts condoning drugs and suicide.

The country has already fined Facebook 90 million rubles ($1 million) for various penalties, including not removing the banned content, according to Russian news agencies.

Russia has been tightening controls this year as well, accusing US-based tech companies of interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

In January, Russia demanded that social networks remove posts calling on Russians to join protests in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny under the guise of preventing minors from participating.

That month President Vladimir Putin complained of the growing influence of big tech companies, which he said were competing with sovereign states.

Last month, officials accused US social media companies of interfering in parliamentary elections and summoned the US ambassador to Moscow.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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