LONDON (AP) — Russian regulators have fined chat service WhatsApp and Snapchat for failing to store Russian users’ data on local servers, part of government efforts to control online activity.
A Moscow court on Thursday imposed an 18 million ruble ($300,000) fine on chat service WhatsApp and a 1 million ruble penalty on disappearing message platform Snapchat. The fines followed a complaint by Russia’s state 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 Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc., which owns WhatsApp, nor Snap Inc., which runs the Snapchat app, responded to a request for comment.
The court said it was fining WhatsApp for repeatedly refusing to localize data of Russian users. WhatsApp received its first Russian fine, for 4 million rubles, in August 2021.
A Moscow court also fined Apple 2 million rubles (about $34,000) earlier this month over the data storage issue. Airbnb, Pinterest and the video streaming service Twitch were fined the same amount last month.