A Russian court imposed a fine on the Whatsapp messaging service, owned by the American company Meta, for not removing certain content.
Since the massive offensive against Ukraine in late February 2022, Russian authorities have attempted to censor parts of the internet and have blocked major American social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, making them inaccessible without using a virtual private network (VPN).
Although the Whatsapp messaging service, owned by the Meta group, has been considered "extremist" and banned in Russia since 2022, it was still allowed in the country until now.
A Moscow court has fined Whatsapp three million rubles (approximately 35,000 euros at the current exchange rate) for refusing to delete content as requested by the authorities.
According to Russian news agencies, Whatsapp did not remove a discussion group that freely offered the sale of an antidepressant drug, even though the trade of this drug is strictly regulated in Russia.
In the past, Google (which also owns the video platform Youtube, still accessible in Russia), Meta, Twitter, TikTok, and Telegram have already been convicted by Russia for not removing content deemed illegal.
Whatsapp has already been fined several million rubles for not storing data on its Russian users on servers located in Russia, which violates the country's legislation.