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Russia's telecom regulator announces fines against YouTube

March 30 (UPI) -- Russia's telecom regulator announced it will fine Alphabet Inc.'s Google for failing to remove videos containing banned content about the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine from its YouTube video service.

Roskomnadzor made the announcement in a statement Tuesday, stating YouTube "has become one of the key platforms participating in the information war against Russia."

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For not taking down the videos, Google could be fined up to nearly $89,000 while repeated transgressions could cause it to forfeit 20% of its annual revenue in Russia.

"The American platform frankly promotes the dissemination of false content containing unreliable socially significant information about the course of a special military operation in Ukraine that discredits the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as well as extremist information calling for violent actions against Russian military personnel, materials of extremist organizations, such as 'Right Sector,' the nationalist regiment 'Azov' and others," it said, referring to two far-right Ukraine nationalist groups.

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UPI has contacted by YouTube and Alphabet for comment.

Russia has already banned Facebook and Instagram under a law prohibiting so-called fake news that was instituted after the Kremlin launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

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Meanwhile, YouTube and Apple have also blocked Russian-state media outlets from there platforms.

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The announcement came on Tuesday as Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google and Alphabet, was in Warsaw, Poland, where he announced support for Ukraine, including $10 million to fight Russian misinformation about the war in the region.

"We saw how many Ukrainians turned to search to find up-to-date information, including where to find shelter or humanitarian aid, and relied on air raid alerts on their phones," he said in a blog post. "To help, we're also rolling out new features that enhance access to trusted information, including info panels in local languages and transparency labels for publisher content on YouTube."

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