Data storage

Russia WhatsApp Fine: Russia fines Snapchat owner WhatsApp for data storage violations – agencies

A Russian court on Thursday fined the owner of Meta Platforms Inc’s WhatsApp messaging and Snapchat, Snap Inc, for allegedly refusing to store Russian user data domestically, news organizations reported.

Moscow has clashed with Big Tech over content, censorship, data and local representation in disputes that have escalated since Russia sent forces to Ukraine on February 24.

The Tagansky District Court in Moscow fined WhatsApp 18 million rubles ($301,255) and Snap 1 million rubles, news organizations reported. WhatsApp was fined for the same offense last August.

Meta and Snap did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Russia restricted access to flagship platforms Meta, Facebook and Instagram, as well as the social network Twitter, shortly after the start of the conflict in Ukraine, a move that critics have presented as an effort by Russia to exert a greater control over information flows.

Meta was found guilty of “extremist activity” in Russia and had an appeal against the tag dismissed in June, but Moscow allowed WhatsApp to remain available.

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According to the ruling, when referring to Meta in the public sphere, organizations and individuals are required to include the disclaimer that Meta’s activities are prohibited on Russian territory.

Microsoft’s LinkedIn has been blocked in Russia for years after a court found it breached the data storage rule, which was passed in 2015.

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