- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 7, 2021

TikTok was fined by a Russian court Tuesday after federal censors said the social networking service refused to remove content that illegally encouraged minors to participate in unauthorized protests.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian government’s internet watchdog, said the 2.6 million rouble fine was handed down because TikTok failed to delete posts that promoted mass events held on Jan. 23.

Protesters rallied across Russia that day in support of Alexey Navalny, a Kremlin critic arrested the previous week in Moscow upon returning from Germany where he was recovering from being poisoned.

The fine, issued by a magistrate for Tagansky District Court in Moscow, is equivalent to roughly $33,700 in U.S. currency at the current exchange rate.

Rival platform Twitter was fined 8.9 million roubles, or around $117,000, by the same court last week after it, too, was found guilty of failing to remove prohibited content as required by Russia.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a message seeking its reaction to the latest ruling. A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment when reached by The Washington Times last week.

Both companies were found guilty under a Russian law that requires the operators of social networks such as TikTok and Twitter to restrict access to prohibited information within a day of being asked.

State-run media reported that the TikTok posts that irked Roskomnadzor allegedly encouraged teenagers to participate in unauthorized protests, which are also strictly restricted under federal law.

Mr. Navalny, 44, is among the most vocal critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was convicted in February of a parole violation and was accordingly sentenced to more than two years in prison.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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