Google fined by Russia over ‘LGBT propaganda’ and ‘false information’ on YouTube

A Russian court has imposed a fine of 3 million roubles ($38,600) on Google for not deleting YouTube videos that were promoting "LGBT propaganda" and "false information" about Russia's military campaign

A Russian court has imposed a fine of 3 million roubles ($38,600) on Google for not deleting YouTube videos that were promoting “LGBT propaganda” and “false information” about Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, according to reports by Russian news agencies. The Russian government has been taking measures to increase its control over the information accessible to its citizens, including passing strict censorship laws, strengthening laws against the “promotion of LGBT propaganda,” and imposing dozens of fines on Western tech companies in the past year.

The new law passed last year broadens Russia’s interpretation of what qualifies as “LGBT propaganda” and any attempt to promote homosexuality in public, online, films, books, or advertising can incur heavy fines. Independent human rights groups have heavily criticised this law, but Moscow has continued to implement it.

According to reports, Google refused to delete several videos from YouTube that Russian prosecutors deemed offensive, including one from a blogger labelled a “foreign agent” by Moscow that was about same-sex couples raising children and the LGBT community in St. Petersburg.

Last year, Russian authorities seized the bank accounts of Alphabet’s Google after imposing a fine of 7.2 billion roubles ($92.6 million) on the company for “repeated failure” to delete content. The Russian subsidiary of Google filed for bankruptcy as a result.

In response to the recent fine, Google has stated that it is reviewing the court’s decision and will determine its next steps soon. Google’s Russian subsidiary has previously stated that it respects the Russian government’s laws and complies with its requirements while maintaining its commitment to free speech. However, critics argue that these measures curtail free speech and increase government control over information access.

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