Russia penalises WhatsApp for failing to delete prohibited content

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Russia declared WhatsApp to be a “extremist” platform and forbade it from functioning there. The chat group that offered an anti-depressant whose sale is prohibited in Russia was the subject of the case that led to the fine.


A Russian court has fined US-based communication provider WhatsApp three million roubles for failing to take down deleted content from its system.

This is the first time a fine for such an infringement has been imposed on Meta’s WhatsApp.

Russia has declared WhatsApp to be a “extremist” network and has barred it from operating there. According to Russian news agencies, the case that led to the fine concerned a chat group that offered an anti-depressant whose sale is prohibited in Russia.

Meanwhile, Meta’s other platforms like Facebook and Instagram have also been banned in Russia.

Google, Twitter, TikTok and another messaging app, Telegram, have been fined for failing to delete illegal content in the past.

WhatsApp was previously fined for not keeping the data of Russian users on servers located in Russia, which violates local rules.

On the other hand, the same court also fined Wikimedia’s owner Wikimedia Foundation three million roubles for not removing what Russia considers “false information” about Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Wikimedia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has previously said information that Russian authorities complained about was well-sourced and in line with Wikipedia standards.

Moscow has for years clashed with Big Tech over content, censorship, data and local representation in disputes that escalated after Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

With inputs from agencies

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