Eastern Europe

Kremlin Warns Google, YouTube To Stop Advertising Civil Unrest, Or Else

Kremlin Warns YouTube To Stop Advertising Civil Unrest, Or Else
Russian Heraldic sign-emblem of the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, Roskomnadzor

Russia’s internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has warned Google, and its subsidiary Youtube, to stop allowing advertising for civil unrest in Moscow over upcoming, rigged municipal elections, or to face consequences.

Massive rallies in Moscow by political opposition figures have shocked the Russian capital. Police and national guard have detained thousands.

“Roskomnadzor has sent to Google a letter demanding that it take measures to prevent the advertising of unauthorized mass events on YouTube video hosting owned by the company,” the statement by Roskomnadzor said, reported Russian state news agency TASS.

According to the telecom watchdog, “some structures” were buying YouTube advertising tools (push notifications) with the goal of disseminating information about unauthorized events aimed at disrupting elections at various levels across Russia. These push notifications are also sent to the users, who have not signed up for YouTube channels of these structures.

Unless Google takes response measures, Russia will consider this as meddling in its sovereign affairs and hindering democratic elections in the country, Roskomnadzor said, noting that it would give an adequate response.

“In particular, according to our information, on August 10 our foreign opponents took advantage of information and computer technologies (including popular video hosting YouTube) in order to manipulate Russian citizens, who attended an authorized rally on Moscow’s Sakharov Avenue,” said the chairman of the Federation Council’s temporary commission for the protection of state sovereignty and prevention of interference in Russia’s internal affairs, Andrei Klimov.

Simply speaking, people started receiving on their gadgets information from the sources, for which they had never signed up,” the senator said. This information was of instigative nature, encouraging citizens to violate law by sending them to protected federal facilities, he explained, reported TASS.

These technologies cannot be used without the assistance of certain Western organizations and owners of network companies, the senator noted. These facts won’t be left unanswered by the commission, he warned.

Russia is also amending legislation to allow political rallies only in certain locations. The rallies were ‘too big for authorities to ignore, reported The Moscow Times.

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