Russian court fines Google over ‘LGBT material’ and ‘false information’ on Ukraine conflict
The recently-expanded law, originally passed in 2013, prohibited the promotion of ‘non-traditional’ sexual identities to under-18s.
A Russian court has fined Google, a subsidiary of US-based Alphabet Inc, 3 million roubles, roughly 36 thousand euros, for breaching its LGBTQ+ laws regarding media coverage and exposure of children to ‘LGBT propaganda’.
The recently-expanded law, originally passed in 2013, prohibited the promotion of ‘non-traditional’ sexual identities to under-18s. Adopted by the Russian Parliament in November 2022, the law’s extension now bans mentions of LGBTQ+ topics in the media (including books and audio-visual content) and the public exhibition of homosexual sentiment – punishable by large fines and possible arrest. The bill’s authors deem LGBT identity and communities as ‘hybrid warfare,’ seeking to corrupt traditional Russian values, society and children.
In the past year, Moscow has imposed numerous penalties on tech companies from the West, aiming to increase its authority in regulating the online content accessible to Russian internet users. Recent cases have included the likes of Tiktok and Twitch in October 2022, for ‘promoting homosexuality’ and Ukraine content, respectively. Just last month, Russian courts handed out a seventh fine of the year to Wikimedia Foundation, citing the non-removal of ‘banned content’ and ‘classified information’ relating to their ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine.
Last year, the Russian branch of Google declared bankruptcy as authorities confiscated its bank accounts. This action was taken following a fine of 7.2 billion roubles, roughly 81.4 million euros, in December 2021. Russian authorities claimed that the company had ‘repeatedly failed’ to remove certain content related to ‘LGBT propaganda’, leading to this retribution.