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Russia fines TikTok $51,000 for content violating anti-LGBTQ laws

Russia fines TikTok $51,000 for content violating anti-LGBTQ laws


TikTok’s penalty for not removing LGBTQ content is just the latest in Russia’s crackdown on tech platforms. Twitch was also fined for violating Russia’s “fake news” law.

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Nick Barclay / The Verge

A Russian court fined TikTok 3 million rubles (about $51,000) for failing to delete content on the platform that violates the country’s anti-LGBTQ “gay propaganda” law, Reuters reports.

The fines are based on charges that TikTok was promoting “non-traditional sexual values, videos featuring LGBT, feminism, and distorted representation of traditional sexual values,” according to Russian news outlet Interfax. The 2013 law restricts individuals and entities from discussing and promoting LGBTQ rights and has been used to crack down on content online. Russia warned TikTok of the fines in August.

Along with the fine on TikTok, Russia also issued a 4 million rubles ($68,000) penalty on Twitch for hosting an interview with Ukrainian adviser to Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych that Russia says violates laws around “fake” news, according to Reuters. Since its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has introduced harsher “fake news” laws that seek to punish people who “discredit” the military. Twitch was fined for refusing to take down a different stream with Arestovych in August.

Neither company immediately responded to requests for comment.

The paid of fines are the latest in Russia’s crackdown on tech companies for hosting content that runs afoul of the country’s increasingly stringent rules. In July, Russia fined Google nearly $365 million for refusing to pull YouTube videos about the war in Ukraine.

Though the latest TikTok and Twitch fines are relatively small, penalties on tech companies have added up, and Russia continues to issue more. Twitch is already facing a set of new fines totaling $135,392 for failing to remove “false” content about the war in Ukraine, according to state news agency TASS.