Russia fines WhatsApp and Snapchat for storing data

LONDON (AP) — Russian regulators have fined chat services WhatsApp and Snapchat for failing to store Russian user data on local servers, part of the government’s efforts to control online activity.

A Moscow court on Thursday imposed a fine of 18 million rubles ($300,000) on the WhatsApp chat service and a fine of 1 million rubles for the disappearance of the Snapchat messaging platform. The fines were imposed following a complaint from Russian 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.

Neither Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc., which owns WhatsApp, nor Snap Inc., which runs the Snapchat app, responded to a request for comment.

The court said it was fining WhatsApp for repeatedly refusing to locate Russian user data. WhatsApp received its first Russian fine, 4 million rubles, in August 2021.

A Moscow court also fined Apple 2 million rubles. (about $34,000) earlier this month for the data storage issue. Airbnb, Pinterest and video streaming service Twitch were ordered to pay the same amount last month.

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