Google, Facebook, and Twitter Face International Fines



Google continues to face antitrust fines. Recently, Turkey fined the company $16.3 million on charges that it abused its market dominance. Notably, Google dominants the Internet search market. The company controls 93% of the global Internet search engine market, according to StatCounter data. Meanwhile, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) only has a 2.5% share of the market. Although Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) dominates the Internet search engine market in China, its global share has fallen to 1.1%.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) also faced fines in Turkey. Last year, Turkey hit the company with about $0.5 million in privacy fines. Facebook also had a record of $5.0 billion in privacy fines in the US last year.

Google is fighting to overturn nearly $10 billion in antitrust fines in the EU. A court hearing of one of Google’s challenges to the EU antitrust fines started last week.

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Russia fined Facebook and Twitter

Google’s fine in Turkey came about the same time that Facebook and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) received fines in Russia. The country’s Internet regulator fined the companies about $63,000 each for failing to comply with a local data storage law. The law requires technology companies to store the information they collect from their Russian users locally.

However, Facebook resisted the pressure to store its data in places where it thinks it might not be secure. In 2016, Russia kicked LinkedIn out of its market for refusing to store data on Russian citizens locally. Facebook and Twitter also risk a ban in Russia if they continue to defy the data storage law. However, Russia might just continue to impose fines instead of banning them.

Considering Facebook and Twitter’s profits, the Russian fines aren’t substantial. Facebook made a profit of $7.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. The company wrapped up the year with $55 billion in cash reserve. Meanwhile, Twitter generated a profit of $119 million in the fourth quarter and finished the year with $6.6 billion in cash.

Big tech companies risk more fines

Big tech companies Google, Facebook, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Apple face antitrust investigations from several antitrust entities. As a result, Facebook and Google could face more fines down the road.

Google parent Alphabet finished 2019 with $120 billion in cash reserve. While the amount looks huge, Google is undertaking several cash-hungry projects. The company continues to invest in data centers as it expands its cloud computing business.


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