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  • Updated: June 01, 2023

Russia Penalises WhatsApp For Failing To Delete Banned Content

A Russian court on Thursday fined messaging app WhatsApp three million roubles (N17,075,975) for failing to delete prohibited information.

The parent firm of WhatsApp, Meta was labelled a "extremist" outfit by Moscow last year, but the chat software, which is very popular in Russia, has never been fined for failing to delete illegal content.

Other Meta services, like Twitter and Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google, as well as the now-banned Facebook and Instagram, have all received fines for their material.

However, WhatsApp has already been penalised for allegedly refusing to abide by Russian data protection laws and keep the information of Russian users on Russian servers.

According to the RIA news agency, WhatsApp was fined on Thursday because it refused to delete information regarding the narcotic Lyrica, whose sale and manufacture are illegal in Russia.

A request for comment made outside of U.S. business hours did not immediately get a response from Meta.

The court also assessed a three million rouble punishment on Wikipedia's owner, the Wikimedia Foundation, for failing to remove what Moscow deemed to be "false information" regarding its military operation in Ukraine.

An inquiry for comments was not immediately answered by Wikimedia.

It has previously claimed that the information about which Russian authorities had complaints was reliable and up to Wikipedia standards.

Moscow and Big Tech have been at odds for years on issues such as content, censorship, data, and local representation.

Tensions increased after Russia moved troops into Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

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Lawrence Agbo
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