Russian Court Fines Google, Meta Over Banned Content – Report

A Russian court has fined Alphabet Class A (GOOGL) and Meta, Inc. (FB), the parent companies of search engine Google and social networking site Facebook, respectively, for their non-cooperation in removing banned content by local law, according to MarketWatch.

Shares of GOOGL closed at $2,938.33, while FB closed at $335.24 on December 23.

Moscow Court Fine

As per the report, last Friday, the Tagansky District Court in Moscow fined Google $98.4 million (7.2 billion roubles) and Meta $27.2 million (2 billion roubles) for failing to delete banned content, despite repeated reminders.

Facebook and Instagram have been ordered to delete some 2,000 items, while Google has been directed to remove 2,600 items. The Russian court fined both companies to punish the tech giants and build further pressure for compliance.

After China, Russia also has started pressuring tech giants for showing harmful and distasteful content. The Russian authorities have criticized social media companies for streaming content related to drug abuse, weapons and explosives, and extremist views.

The report said that the authorities had sent several reminders to both Google and Meta for deleting such content and slammed them with small fines, but both companies failed to follow the norms.

The fine has been calculated based on the social media company’s revenue base, and the authorities have warned the companies with slow website traffic, or complete blocking of the websites if they fail to follow the orders.

Consensus View

Recently, Societe Generale analyst Christophe Cherblanc lifted the price target on the GOOGL stock to $3,730 (26.9% upside potential) from $3,260 while maintaining a Buy rating.

Overall, the stock commands a Strong Buy consensus rating based on 26 Buys and 2 Holds. The average Alphabet Class A price target of $3,368.75 implies 14.6% upside potential to current levels. Meanwhile, shares have gained 65.6% over the past year.

Website Traffic

TipRanks’ Website Traffic tool, which uses data from SEMrush Holdings (SEMR), the world’s biggest website usage monitoring service, offers insight into Google’s performance, which is one of the best Cloud Storage stocks.

In November, Alphabet Class A website traffic recorded a 17.64% year-over-year decline in monthly visits. However, year-to-date website traffic growth increased by 4.22% compared to the same period last year.

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