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What you need to know

  • Google has come under fire in Russia for failing to remove illegal content quickly enough.
  • The company has been given 24 hours to comply or be slowed down.
  • Twitter was given the same ultimatum last month and complied, removing 91 percent of highlighted content.

Russia has now asked Google to remove links to content prohibited in the country within 24 hours or be punished. Google's services in Russia could be throttled within the country if it fails to comply.

As quoted by TASS, Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, or Roskomnadzor, said:

After Twitter, at the request of Roskomnadzor, removed 91% of the prohibited information, Google came out on top in the amount of unreleased illegal content that directly harms Russian users. [...] Roskomnadzor sent more than 26 thousand notifications to the Google administration about the need to delete illegal information. If, after notifying Roskomnadzor, the Internet platform does not restrict access to prohibited information within 24 hours, it will be fined in the amount of 800 thousand to 4 million rubles.

Russia had made the same request of Twitter in March, but the company seems to have acquiesced, removing 91 percent of the content in contention.

The kind of content here includes links to sites that promote drug use and child sexual abuse and ones that encourage minors to attend unauthorized protests in the country. Google has challenged the Russian government over the latter, as per court documents seen via Reuters on Monday. There have been concerns that Russia has been lumping in drug use and child abuse with protests to stifle political opposition.

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Its earlier Twitter ban was also criticized as a pretext to scupper the mobilization of political opponents. Axios had noted that the country had been looking into how social media helped galvanize political movements and had been moving to quash that.

Android Central has reached out to Google for comment on this story and will update in the event of a response.