Russia fines Twitter, Facebook owner Meta and TikTok over banned content

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Facebook, TikTok, Twitter apps are seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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MOSCOW, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Russia fined Twitter (TWTR.N), Facebook owner Meta Platforms (FB.O) and TikTok on Thursday for failing to delete content the government deems illegal, a Moscow court said, the latest in a string of penalties against foreign technology firms.

Moscow has increased pressure on Big Tech this year in a campaign that critics characterise as an attempt by the Russian authorities to exert tighter control over the internet, something they say threatens to stifle individual and corporate freedom.

Moscow's Tagansky District Court said Meta Platforms had been fined a total of 13 million roubles ($176,926) in three separate administrative cases for not deleting content. Twitter was fined 10 million roubles across two cases, while TikTok received a 4 million rouble penalty, according to Russian news agencies.

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Twitter, Facebook and TikTok had no immediate comment.

Meta, along with Alphabet's Google (GOOGL.O), faces a court case later this month for suspected repeated violations of Russian legislation on content and could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue in Russia. read more

Russia has slowed down the speed of Twitter since March as a punitive measure for posts containing child pornography, drug abuse information or calls for minors to commit suicide, communications regulator Roskomnadzor has said. read more

Twitter denies allowing its platform to be used to promote illegal behaviour.

Moscow has also demanded that 13 foreign and mostly U.S. technology companies set up in Russia by Jan. 1 or face possible restrictions or outright bans. All three companies fined on Thursday are on that list. read more

($1 = 73.4770 roubles)

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Reporting by Alexander Marrow, Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Potter and Alison Williams

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