Both Facebook’s owner, Meta, and TikTok have been fined by Russian courts under the country’s 2013 “anti-gay propaganda” law.
The fines stem from the companies not removing LGBTQ+ content from their platforms, according to Russian media cited by Euronews.
One court in Moscow fined Meta the equivalent of about $53,000 on Tuesday. Another court fined TikTok $26,000.
Judges in the cases ruled that the companies did not take down posts “propagating homosexual relations,” according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Media regulator Roskomnadzor filed the complaints.
It was not clear what content the platforms failed to remove.
Euronews notes that social media companies are often fined in the country over not deleting content the Russian government disagrees with or that may be linked to the country’s political opposition.
That pressure has shot up since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin has restricted the opposition to the invasion on numerous sites.
Both companies have platforms that have been safe spaces for queer content creators over the years, even while some content has previously been censored by them as well.
Recently, a 27-year-old woman was fined about $1,000 in Russia for posting pictures of same-sex parents with their children, according to Gizmodo.
Russia infamously adopted the “gay propaganda” law in 2013, banning any mention of LGBTQ+ issues in venues accessible to minors. Russian President Vladimir Putin even once called trans acceptance a "crime against humanity." In recent years, Chechnya, a semi-autonomous region of Russia, has systematically persecuted LGBTQ+ people, especially gay men, jailing and torturing them, and outing them to intolerant family members, which puts them at risk of further violence. Some have been killed, and others have fled abroad.
The Advocate has reached out to both Meta and TikTok for comments about the fines. We’ll update this article once we hear back.