26 Jul 2022 14:39

Russia's FAS fines Google 2 bln rubles over blocking of accounts on YouTube

MOSCOW. July 26 (Interfax) - Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has fined Google LLC 2 billion rubles ($34.89 million) for YouTube abusing its dominant position on the video hosting services market, the FAS press service said.

The company must pay the fine within two months of the fine entering into force.

The FAS finished considering an antitrust case against Google in February 2022, determining that the rules for forming, suspending, and blocking accounts and circulating the content of users on YouTube are not transparent, objective, or predictable.

"This leads to sudden blocking and deleting of user accounts without warning or reason. Russia's FAS has determined that such behavior infringes on the interests of users and limits competition on adjacent markets," the press service said.

"After studying the circumstances of the case extensively, a service commission found the company guilty of YouTube abusing its dominant position on the video hosting services market," it said.

The case against Google was initiated in April 2021 as a result of a complaint from the Regional Public Center of Internet Technologies (ROCIT) saying that YouTube might hold a dominant position on the Russian market.

ROCIT requested that the FAS initiate an antitrust case against another popular foreign platform, game live streaming service Twitch, in July 2022. According to the organization, Twitch, in blocking users from Russia, does economic damage to users and limits their competitiveness. The FAS told Interfax that it has received a request from ROCIT and is considering it in line with established procedures.