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8 Sep, 2019 15:09

Google & Facebook are meddling in Russia’s affairs with political ads on election day – watchdog

Google & Facebook are meddling in Russia’s affairs with political ads on election day – watchdog

US tech giants have been disseminating political advertising during local election day in Russia, despite having being warned that it would be illegal to do so, telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has said.

“Those actions can be viewed as interference in the sovereign affairs of Russia and obstruction of the democratic elections,” Roskomnadzor said, slamming the behavior of the foreign companies as “unacceptable.”

The violations by Google, Facebook and YouTube were committed not only on Election Day on Sunday, but also on the Day of Silence, a media moratorium that precedes the day of the vote.

Earlier this week, Roskomnadzor warned the respective services, as well as Instagram, against publishing political ads during this time and promised an “adequate reaction” if the calls were ignored.

Also on rt.com Nationwide local elections wind up in Russia after weeks of Moscow protests

Earlier, a high-ranking member of Russia’s Civic Chamber, Aleksandr Malkevich, said that Google displayed ads for the so-called ‘Smart Voting’ system promoted by opposition figure and video blogger Aleksey Navalny.
These ads are said to have been shown to users who were searching for data on the local elections in Moscow.

Facebook blocked two posts that Moscow’s Election Commission had tried putting up on its account. They detailed how violations during the ongoing vote are being verified, he added.

The disregard for Russian law by Google and Facebook has been a frequent source of tension between the authorities and the multinational tech giants in recent years.

Roskomnadzor has even warned Google that it may be blocked in the country over its unwillingness to connect its search engine to the federal database of banned websites. Facebook has faced similar threats, due to its storing of Russian citizens’ personal data on servers located abroad. But, so far, Google and Facebook have been able to escape with minor fines.

The information regarding interference in the Russian election by Google and Facebook will be “thoroughly examined” by the relevant commission in the Russian Parliament, the head of the body stated.

Also on rt.com Google may be blocked in Russia & country is ready to change laws to do it – watchdog

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