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Russia accuses Google of failing to remove links to banned sites

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Russian state officials today formally accused Google of breaking the law by not removing links to websites that are banned in the country.

Roskomnadzor, the state communications agency, said in a statement that the company had not connected to a database of banned sources in the country, leaving it out of compliance.

The potential penalty that Google could face is minuscule for a company of its size: officials said in the statement that the search giant could only face fines of up to 700,000 roubles, or about $10,000. But Reuters reports that the Russian government has been considering more drastic actions, including fining companies up to 1 percent of annual revenue for failing to comply with similar laws. Russia has passed a series of laws in recent years that give the government more power to censor the web, and has clashed with major websites like Wikipedia over the rules.

Google has faced relatively steep penalties from the Russian government in the past. In 2016, the country levied a $6.75 million antitrust fine against Google over its Android practices, an amount the company was also able to quickly recover.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the announcement.