WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter fined for not storing user data inside Russia

A Moscow court has fined WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter for not storing the data of Russian users inside Russia's borders, Roskomnadzor, the country's telecoms regulator, announced today.

Imposed by the Tagansky District Court of Moscow, the fines are:

  • WhatsApp - 4 million rubles ($54,000)
  • Facebook - 15 million rubles ($202,000)
  • Twitter - 17 million rubles ($228,000)

The Facebook and Twitter fines are larger because the two companies were also fined 4 million rubles last year. Facebook paid the fine, but Twitter did not, the Roskomnadzor said.

This is WhatsApp's first fine.

The fines were imposed based on Russia's data-localization law. Passed in 2014 and entered into effect in 2015, the law requires that any company that caters to Russian users to store the data of those users on servers inside Russia.

Russia began enforcing the law in 2016, when, in a show of force, it banned LinkedIn.

Since 2019, the Russian government has been using a system of fines to warn and nudge foreign companies to comply before enacting a full ban again.

The Roskomnadzor said that almost 600 companies are now storing data of Russian users inside the country's borders, including some big names such as Apple, Microsoft, LG, Samsung, PayPal, and Booking.

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Catalin Cimpanu

Catalin Cimpanu

is a cybersecurity reporter who previously worked at ZDNet and Bleeping Computer, where he became a well-known name in the industry for his constant scoops on new vulnerabilities, cyberattacks, and law enforcement actions against hackers.