Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Russia warns Google on advertising after election protests

Russia warns Google on advertising after election protests

Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018.

Media supervisor Roskomnadzor has sent a letter to Google insisting that it stop promoting "illegal mass events" on YouTube. The media regulator said Moscow will take the appropriate measures should the USA video-sharing giant refuse to comply.

The watchdog, Roscomandzor, said organisations had been buying advertising tools such as push notifications on the video platform to spread information about the protests. Russia's State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Council will hold a special meeting on August 19 to discuss foreign interference in the country's domestic affairs, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told reporters on Monday following a meeting with State Duma Security and Anti-Corruption Committee Chairman Vasily Piskarev.

Roskomnadzor said on Sunday that it had sent a letter to Google saying that Russian Federation would consider it interference in its sovereign affairs and a hostile influence should the US -based tech giant fail to respond to the request.

Russia's government has a history of putting pressure on Google, which competes against local search engine company Yandex the country.

On the other hand, analysts noted that at this point, the American search giant is left with no choice but to adhere to Russian media laws. Officials would have the "right to an adequate reaction", Roskomnadzor mentioned. Some protests have been sanctioned by authorities.

These technologies can not be used without the assistance of certain Western organizations and owners of network companies, the senator noted.

In July, Roskomnadzor fined Google 700,000 rubles ($11,000) for failing to censor content blacklisted by the agency in accordance with strict Russian Internet laws.

Russia's opposition figures have organized rallies in downtown Moscow over the past three Saturdays after they were denied candidacy in the Moscow city council election slated for September 8. Protest tally NGO White Counter estimated that nearly 50,000 people attended the opposition's arrest-laden demonstration.

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