On Tuesday, October 4, a court in Russia fined social media platform TikTok 3 million roubles (over €50,000) over the refusal to remove content that the Russian authorities deemed to be in violation of the country’s law on “LGBT propaganda”.
As reported by Reuters, ByteDance-owned platform TikTok was found guilty of an administrative offence in Russia for failing to delete content that was allegedly “promoting non-traditional values, LGBT, feminism and a distorted representation of traditional sexual values”. As a result, the company was fined 3 million roubles by Moscow’s Tagansky District Court.
The Russian law against so-called ‘LGBT propaganda’ was introduced in 2013 to censor queer content destined for minors. However, such legislation has often been used to intimidate LGBTQ+ activists and oppress the Russian queer community, in addition to preventing children from accessing inclusive media.
Earlier this year, it was reported that lawmakers in Russia are considering expanding the existing law to include adults and increasing fines towards whoever exposes children to “LGBT propaganda”.
Russia fined TikTok for failing to delete content that violates Russian laws on 'LGBT propaganda' and streaming service Twitch for hosting a video interview with a Ukrainian political figure that Moscow said contained 'fake' information https://t.co/tHB3LP8IYQ pic.twitter.com/yIoCZZbqjr
— Reuters Legal (@ReutersLegal) October 4, 2022
When implementing such legislation, as in the case of TikTok, authorities in Russia claim that they are defending public morality against alleged un-Russian values imposed by the West. Indeed, this is the latest development in a long-running dispute between Russia and several Big Tech companies, which aims at suppressing Western firms’ influence in the country.
In a similar case, Twitch, the streaming service owned by Amazon, was also fined for hosting a video interview with Oleksiy Arestovych, one of the advisers of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The allegations against Twitch entail spreading unreliable information about what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
This is related to a law passed in early March in Russia that prohibits spreading “fake” information about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and “discrediting” the armed forces. Sentences can go up to 15 years in prison and foreign tech firms have been warned against violating such law.
© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.