Russian regulators have fined chat services WhatsApp and Snapchat for failing to store Russian user data on local servers, as part of government efforts to control online activity.
A Moscow court on Thursday imposed a fine of 18 million rubles (about Rs. 2,40,00.00) on the chat service WhatsApp and a fine of 1 million rubles on the disappearance of the messaging platform Snapchat. The fines were imposed following a complaint from Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor.
The Russian government has been trying for years to establish greater control over the internet and social media, an effort that has intensified in recent months as it tries to limit the flow of information about Ukraine.
Neither parent platforms Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, nor Snap, which runs the Snapchat app, responded to a request for comment.
The court said it was fining WhatsApp for repeatedly refusing to locate Russian user data. WhatsApp received its first Russian fine, for 4 million rubles (around Rs 52.15,000), in August 2021.
A Moscow court also fined Apple 2 million rubles (about Rs. 27,000,000) earlier this month over the data storage issue. Airbnb and Pinterest were fined the same amount last month.
Russia’s competition authority said earlier this month it would fine US tech giant Apple for violating Russian antitrust laws and abusing its dominant position in the app store market. The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) said it would impose a fine on Apple based on turnover, the amount of which would be determined during an administrative investigation. Moscow has long opposed the influence of foreign tech platforms on the Russian market, but the simmering dispute has intensified since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
“The company abused its dominant position in the iOS app distribution market,” FAS said in a statement.
“Apple prohibits iOS app developers from informing customers inside the app of the ability to pay for purchases outside of the App Store or use alternative payment methods,” the statement read. .