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3 Aug, 2023 16:39

Apple fined for first time over prohibited content in Russia

The US tech giant has been hit with a $4,200 penalty by a Moscow court
Apple fined for first time over prohibited content in Russia

The Tagansky Magistrate’s Court in Moscow has for the first time decided to issue an administrative fine to Apple for failing to delete information prohibited in the Russian Federation, TASS news agency reported on Thursday.

According to a verdict delivered by Judge Timur Vakhrameev, Apple Distribution International has been found guilty of committing an administrative offense and has been sentenced to pay a fine of 400,000 rubles ($4,200).

The judge noted that the amount the American corporation has been ordered to pay was lowered below the minimum fine for such a violation after taking into account the arguments presented in  court by Apple’s legal team.

According to court documents presented during the hearing, Apple was accused of failing to remove applications and podcasts that contained incorrect information about Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, as well as information that was “aimed at involving minors in illegal activities in order to destabilize the political situation in the Russian Federation.”

While the verdict marks the first time Apple has been held accountable for failing to delete prohibited information in Russia, the American corporation had previously also lost several legal cases related to antitrust violations and been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of rubles in fines.

In February, Apple paid a fine of 906 million rubles ($9.6 million) in a lawsuit that was initiated by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), accusing the tech giant of restricting competition in its AppStore after it “unfairly” rejected Kaspersky Lab’s parental control program.

In January, the monopoly watchdog also ordered the tech giant to pay over 1.17 billion rubles ($12.4 million) for muscling developers into removing links to their personal websites and exclusively using payment systems provided by Apple itself. 

The FAS made similar rulings on Google last year, which was also accused of violating antitrust laws with its Google Play payment rules. However, the tech giant ultimately adhered to the watchdog’s demands and tweaked its policies to be in line with Russian legislation.