Google’s YouTube Draws Antitrust Fines in Russia

You know things are bad when the Russian government says you’re abusing your power, acting surreptitiously, and restricting adjacent markets.

But that’s the message Moscow has sent to Google regarding its operation of YouTube.

On Feb. 15 the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) in Moscow issued the following statement:

“The FAS found that the rules related to the formation, suspension, blocking of accounts and the circulation of user content on YouTube are non-transparent, biased and unpredictable. This leads to sudden blocking and deletion of user accounts without warning and justification of actions. The FAS has established that such behavior infringes the interests of users, as well as restricts competition in adjacent markets.” The FAS said it came to this determination after comprehensive study of the matter, finding the company “guilty of abusing its dominant position in the market of YouTube video hosting services.”

Part 1 of Article 10 of Russia’s Law on Protection of Competition, says:

“[A]ctions (inaction) of a dominant economic entity are prohibited, the result of which is or may be the prevention, restriction, elimination of competition and (or) infringement of the interests of other persons (economic entities) in the field of entrepreneurial activity or an undefined range of consumers.”

The investigation began in April 2021. The amount of the fine will be determined during an administrative investigation.

Edited by Tom Hagy for MoginRubin LLP.

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