US tech giant faces Russian fines
American tech giant Google is set to be handed a fine after Russian officials determined it was in violation of the country’s anti-trust laws, in connection with its video sharing and social media website YouTube.
The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) posted the news on its website on Thursday, writing that a case brought against Google last April had concluded that the tech firm had breached antitrust law by arbitrarily deleting content on YouTube, which is the second-most visited website in the world, after Google itself.
The statement reads, “the Service determined that the rules connected with formulating, suspending, and blocking accounts and content circulation of YouTube users are opaque, subjective, and unpredictable. This leads to the sudden blocking and deletion of accounts without warning or foundation. The Russian FAS determined that such behavior infringes on the interests of users and restricts competition in related markets.”
“After a multilateral analysis of the circumstances of the case, the Commission found the company guilty of abusing its dominant market position in connection with YouTube’s video hosting services,” the report concludes. The amount of the fine will be decided after the administration looks into it.
In December, a Moscow court hit Google with a fine of 7.2 billion rubles (around $98.1 million) for failing to take down banned content, the first time that an IT company had been fined in Russia with a penalty linked to its earnings. Russia is one of few countries with a widely-used domestic rival to Google, the search engine Yandex. In 2016, Google narrowly overtook its competitor, reaching 20.5 million Russian users per month versus 20.4 million.
This week, PriceRunner, a Swedish price comparison site, filed a $2.4 billion lawsuit against Google, claiming the search engine manipulates search results to benefit its own commercial services. The company stated that it wanted to “fight for consumers who have suffered tremendously from Google’s infringement of the competition law for the past fourteen years and still today.”