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Russian court fines VKontakte $20,000 for refusing to remove videos calling for participation in unauthorized protests

A magistrate in St. Petersburg has fined the social networking site VKontakte 1.5 million rubles ($20,280) for refusing to remove content calling for participation in unauthorized protests.

The fine was issued under article 13.41, part 2 of the Russian Administrative Code (failure to fulfill obligations to remove information). 

As noted in the magistrate’s decision, Russia’s censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, sent an order demanding the content’s removal to VKontakte’s administration on January 22, but no action was taken within 24 hours. The agency’s complaint was filed over videos that first appeared on TikTok.

VKontakte has already announced plans to challenge the decision.

In early March, the social networking site Odnoklassniki was fined 4 million rubles (about $54,000) for refusing to delete content about unauthorized rallies. Both VKontakte and Odnoklassniki are owned by the Russian Internet company Mail.ru Group.

At the end of January, Roskomnadzor reported that Odnoklassniki, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, VKontakte, and YouTube had failed to delete a grand total of 170 calls to participate in mass protests.

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