Google scheduled to face fine by Russian officials

Google is said to be handed a fine after Russian officials determined it was in violation of the country’s anti-trust laws, in connection with its video-sharing and social media website YouTube.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) announced on its website, on Thursday, writing that a case brought against the U.S. (United States) tech giant last April had concluded that the tech firm had breached anti-trust law by arbitrarily removing content on YouTube, which is the second most visited website in the world, after Google itself.

The official statement by the FAS states: “the Service determined that the rules connected with formulating, suspending and blocking accounts and content circulation of YouTube users are opaque, subjective and unpredictable. This leads to the sudden blocking and deletion of accounts without warning or foundation. The Russian FAS determined that such behaviour infringes on the interests of users and restricts competition in related markets.”

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“After a multilateral analysis of the circumstances of the case, the Commission found the company guilty of abusing its dominant market position in connection with YouTube’s video hosting services,” the report concludes. The amount of the fine is yet to be decided.

In December, a Moscow court hit Google with a fine of 7.2 billion rubbles (approximately $98.1 million) for failing to take down banned content, the first time that an IT company had been fined in Russia with a penalty linked to its earnings.

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Russia is one of few countries with a widely-used domestic rival to Google, the search engine Yandex. In 2016, Google overtook its competitor with a razor-thin margin reaching 20.5 million Russian users per month versus 20.4 million.

This week, a Swedish price comparison site, known as PriceRunner, filed a $2.4 billion lawsuit against Google, claiming the search engine manipulates search results to benefit its own commercial services.

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