A Russian court has imposed a punishment on Facebook for failing to remove prohibited content.

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A Russian court has imposed a punishment on Facebook for failing to remove prohibited content.

For failing to remove unlawful materials, Russian authorities have ordered Facebook and the messaging service Telegram to pay hefty fines.

The action could be part of a broader push by the administration to tighten control over social media sites in the face of political unrest.

Facebook was fined 17 million rubles (£167,000) while Telegram was fined 10 million rubles (£98,000) by a Moscow court.

It was the second time in recent weeks that both companies had been penalized.

On May 25, Facebook was fined 26 million rubles (£255,000) for failing to remove materials that the Russian government deemed illegal.

Telegram was also fined 5 million rubles (£49,000) a month earlier for failing to take down protest calls.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s official communications agency, began slowing down Twitter earlier this year and threatened it with a suspension for its claimed failure to remove illegal content.

Officials claimed that the platform failed to delete materials that encouraged youngsters to commit suicide as well as information about drugs and child pornography.

The campaign began after Russian officials chastised social media sites for bringing tens of thousands of people to the streets across the country this year to seek the release of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Putin’s most well-known adversary.

The surge of protests has posed a significant challenge to the Kremlin.

Social media networks, according to officials, failed to delete appeals for youngsters to join the protests. Mr Putin has asked police to step up their efforts to monitor social media platforms and apprehend people who recruit minors to participate in “illegal and unsanctioned street events.”

The Russian government has been working to tighten control over the internet and social media since 2012, when a law was passed authorizing authorities to blacklist and restrict specific online content.

Since then, Russia has imposed a rising number of limitations on messaging applications, websites, and social media platforms.

The government has repeatedly aired threats to block Facebook and Twitter but stopped short of outright bans — probably fearing the move would elicit too much public outrage.

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