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 (roughly Rs. 2,40,00,00) 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.
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 (roughly Rs. 52,15,000), in August 2021.
Russia’s competition authority said earlier this month it would fine US tech giant Apple for violating Russian antitrust laws and abusing its dominant position in the app store market. The federal anti-monopoly service (FAS) said it would levy a turnover-based fine against Apple, the size of which would be determined during the course of an administrative investigation. Moscow has long objected to foreign tech platforms’ influence in the Russian market, but the simmering dispute has escalated since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
“The company has abused its dominant position in the iOS app distribution market,” the FAS said in a statement.
“Apple prohibits iOS app developers from telling clients inside the app about the possibility of paying for purchases outside the App Store or using alternative payment methods,” said the statement.