Russia fines WhatsApp, Tinder, Snapchat over data storage violations

A Russian court fined Meta Platforms Inc's WhatsApp messenger 18 million roubles ($298,507) on Thursday for an alleged failure to localize user data on Russian territory, the TASS news agency reported.

The court also fined Snapchat owner 1 million roubles ($16,667) for an alleged refusal to localize Russian user data on the country's territory, the Interfax news agency reported.

Later, a Russian court fined Match Group, the owner of the Tinder dating app, 2 million roubles ($33,280) on Thursday for an alleged failure to store user data within Russia territory, the RIA news agency reported.

Meta, Tinder and Snap did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Russia restricted access to Meta's flagship platforms Facebook and Instagram, as well as fellow social network Twitter, soon after the conflict in Ukraine began, a move critics have cast as an effort by Russia to exert greater control over information flows.

Meta was found guilty of "extremist activity" in Russia and saw an appeal against the tag rejected in June, but Moscow has permitted WhatsApp to remain available.

According to the ruling, when referring to Meta in the public sphere, organizations and individuals are required to include the disclaimer that Meta's activities are banned on Russian territory.

Microsoft's LinkedIn has been blocked in Russia for years after a court found it breached the data-storage rule, which was passed in 2015.