A court in Moscow today issued fines of 4 million rubles each against Twitter and Facebook for the social media companies' refusal to store data about Russian citizens inside Russia.
The fines of nearly $63,000 are, as the saying goes, barely a rounding error for either of those massive internet companies. But they're the largest fines Russia has levied against any tech company since president Vladimir Putin began tightening his grip on the internet starting around 2012, with a bunch of new laws that give his government greater powers to surveil citizens online.
From the Associated Press:
One provision required tech companies to keep servers in Russia for storing personal information they gather from Russian citizens. Russia’s internet regulator, Roskomnadzor, has tried unsuccessfully for several years to force large companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google to move Russian user data to Russia.
Commenting on Thursday’s court rulings, Roskomnadzor said Twitter and Facebook would be fined 18 million rubles ($283,000) each if they don’t comply this year.
Last year, Twitter and Facebook were fined the equivalent of $47 each for violating the same personal data regulation. The punishment had no effect on the two companies, so in December Russian authorities increased the fines.