February 29, 2024

A report from Reuters reveals that the Russian state bailiffs have cleared the debts of major tech companies, including Alphabet’s Google, YouTube, Meta, and TikTok. This move comes at a time when Russian authorities and foreign companies are dealing with matters regarding data storage and regulations.

Russia Clears Fines for Tech Giants from Its Database

As of the latest check on Wednesday, the mentioned companies have been removed from the debtor registry, signifying a potential resolution to the fines imposed by Russian courts.

Notably, X (formerly Twitter) and Twitch remain in the database, facing fines totaling 51 million roubles ($560,730) and 23 million roubles ($252,879), respectively.

Although there were attempts to receive comments on the matter, Google, Meta, TikTok, and others involved in the case have yet to provide a response. Also, there is still a need to reach state bailiffs for more details.

The removal of the debts comes after a series of disputes between Russia and foreign tech companies, which escalated after the invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

The result of the invasion brought about the blocking of Twitter (currently X), Facebook, and Instagram social platforms from Meta and increased Russian government scrutiny on Alphabet’s YouTube.

Besides these happenings, Google received a significant fine of 4.6 billion roubles, equivalent to $50.4 million from a Russian court.

This fine was calculated as Google’s annual turnover in the country. In the case of Meta, which bore the name extremist in 2022, there were fines placed on it according to a proportion of the company’s Russian revenue.

Notably, this debt clearance for the companies suggests a potential resolution to these financial disputes, though official statements from the concerned parties are awaited.

Google Sets up Control to Manage Technical Debts

Like several other companies, Google commits to reducing technical debts using various strategies that check for possible errors. Most of these errors are mainly due to limitations in time or resources.

Google has set up a technical debt management structure to ensure the best practices amongst team members.

These practices include inventorying technical debt, assessing its impact, and upholding code quality. Besides that, the company also uses tooling support to identify and manage technical debt effectively.

It performs this by using tools that identify indicators of test coverage and stale documentation and highlight deprecated dependencies.

Furthermore, Google actively promotes awareness of technical debt within its organizational culture. The goal is to make it the responsibility not only of security and IT teams but of the entire organization.

In the financial area, Google has encountered controversies related to tax avoidance practices, notably the double Irish Dutch sandwich strategy.

Despite these challenges, some countries have introduced measures like Google taxes or diverted profits taxes to address these issues. The objective is to ensure that multinational companies, including Google, contribute their fair share of taxes to the respective jurisdictions.

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