Russia Sends Bailiffs After Facebook To Retrieve $24 Million

Russia has launched proceedings to send bailiffs to collect a fine from Facebook for failing to remove "prohibited information."

As reported by the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti, Federal Bailiffs Service (FSSP) officials are once again seeking fines from the social media site for publishing what the country referred to as "fake" information about its invasion of Ukraine and "unauthorized" anti-Kremlin protests.

According to the FSSP, Meta—the parent company of Facebook—has been fined nearly 2 billion rubles ($23.8 million), which they have not paid.

The fine was imposed for what Russia said was a "systematic failure to remove prohibited information." Enforcement proceedings began on March 24.

Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor previously asked the courts to fine Facebook for not deleting what it considered unlawful content and promoting unsanctioned protests in the country, reported The Associated Press last October.

In March 21, a judge in Moscow's Tverskoy District Court banned Facebook and Instagram after labeling Meta as "extremist," accusing the site of inciting and encouraging violence against Russia in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

Meta's president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said in a March 11 statement that Facebook will continue to allow Ukrainians to post political dissent or calls for violence against Russians in the context of war.

"I want to be crystal clear: our policies are focused on protecting people's rights to speech as an expression of self-defense in reaction to a military invasion of their country," Clegg said.

"The fact is, if we applied our standard content policies without any adjustments we would now be removing content from ordinary Ukrainians expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces, which would rightly be viewed as unacceptable."

Clegg added that the company will not tolerate "Russophobia or any kind of discrimination, harassment or violence towards Russians" on the platform.

Russian government had previously partially blocked access to Facebook after it claimed the social network "restricted" the accounts of four Russian media outlets.

Roskomnadzor had accused Facebook of violating "the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens," by censoring posts from the Zvezda TV channel, the RIA Novosti news agency and the Lenta.ru and Gazeta.ru websites.

Meta has been contacted for comment.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Roskomnadzor threatened to fine Wikipedia up to four million rubles if it does not remove material with "inaccurate information of public interest" regarding the Ukraine conflict.

The threat comes as Russia is continually accused of committing war crimes during what it calls a "special operation" in Ukraine, including purposely targeting civilians.

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Sign with logo at the headquarters of social network company Facebook in Silicon Valley, Menlo Park, California, November 10, 2017. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images