Russia fines US-based online dating service — Analysis

Tinder, along with WhatsApp and Snapchat, has been ordered to pay millions of rubles for refusing to comply with Russia’s data localization law

According to court reports, a Moscow court fined entities that own popular social media platforms Snapchat and Tinder for failing to allow localization of data from Russian users. California-based companies own the three platforms.

Tinder will be fined 2 million rubles (33,300 rubles) and Snapchat 1 million rubles (16,000 rubles) respectively for refusing to adhere to Russian data localization law. WhatsApp, which was found repeatedly in breach of law, has been fined a maximum of 18 million rubles ($300,000.

Moscow’s World Court of the Tagansky District filed the lawsuit against the Snapchat, Tinder, Spotify and Tinder owners for breaking a Russian law. This requires them to make sure that personal data of Russian citizens are not recorded, stored, modified, or systematized using Russian databases. A violation of this law could result in a fine between 1-6 million rubles and up to 18,000,000 rubles for a repeat offense.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s national internet and media watchdog, had previously reported that about 600 representative offices of foreign companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, PayPal, Booking and LG, among others, had localized the storage of the personal data of Russian users.

However, many social networking websites, including LinkedIn, were blocked by Russia because they refused to comply with the localization requirements.

Russia fines Google $366 million

Russia is strongly against foreign tech companies operating in Russia and particularly criticizes foreign content distribution online.

Russia had banned Instagram and Facebook in March after naming their owner as US tech giant Meta. This extremist group refused to take down false information about Ukraine’s conflict, illegal protests calls, hate speech against Russian citizens, and also refuses to delete any content that Moscow considered fake.

The Russian authorities have also targeted Google on numerous occasions. Just last week, it was fined $366 million dollars for repeatedly failing to delete “misleading” information on YouTube regarding Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine. 

Roskomnadzor claims it sent 17 requests to Google to ensure compliance with Russian law before issuing the fine. However, the tech company refused to comply. The watchdog claims that Google has yet to delete at least 7,000 “illegal materials” from the video hosting platform.

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