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A Russian court has fined Google $98 million for its alleged failure to remove content that is considered illegal in the country.

A Moscow court also slapped a $27 million fine on Meta (formerly Facebook) over its failure to delete content banned by the law of the land.

Russian news service Interfax reported that the judge calculated the fine sum on the basis of information about Google’s annual revenue provided by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor).

The offence to remove banner content is punishable with a fine of 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the overall revenue in a calendar year preceding the calendar year of the administrative offence, Interfax said late on Friday.

The fines on Google and Meta came as Russia exerts more control over big tech firms and the content people publish on their digital platforms.

Google told The Verge in a statement it will “study the court documents when they are available and then decide on next steps”.

Earlier this week, Twitter was also fined 3 million rubles ($40,000) for its failure to purge banned content.

According to Roskomnadzor, Facebook and Instagram have failed to remove 2,000 pieces of content and Google failed to purge nearly 2,600 such items.

Russian officials have also asked Google and Apple to remove political opponents’ voting apps from their app stores “by threatening to prosecute the companies’ locally-based employees”, the report said.

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