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Russia Accuses Facebook, Google Of Meddling In Elections


A woman casts her vote at a polling station during to Moscow City Duma elections on September 8.
A woman casts her vote at a polling station during to Moscow City Duma elections on September 8.

Russia's communications regulator has accused U.S. tech giants Google and Facebook of violating legislation prohibiting political advertising during elections.

Roskomnadzor made the allegations on September 8 as the country held municipal and regional polls.

Responding to the accusations, Google said on September 9 that it supported "responsible political advertising" that complies with local legislation.

Facebook said that advertisers -- not the company itself -- were responsible for complying with local election laws, adding: "If we receive notice that an advertisement violates local legislation, we examine it and take appropriate measures."

In its statement, Roskomnadzor said the actions by the two Internet companies were "unacceptable" and could be regarded as "interference in the sovereign affairs" of the country.

Legislation prohibits political advertisements on election day, as well as the day before, and the regulator said it had asked Facebook and Google to not allow political advertisements during those days.

It didn’t mention whether punitive action would be taken.

In August, Roskomnadzor accused Google of promoting protests that have been held throughout the summer in Moscow over independent and opposition candidates not being allowed on the ballot for the Moscow vote.

It accused Google’s video-sharing platform YouTube of promoting rallies after the largest protest against the Kremlin took place in nearly eight years on August 10.

Moscow has also accused the U.S. government and German state-financed broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) of encouraging the protests.

DW and the United States have rejected the allegations as baseless and without merit.

Based on reporting by TASS, Mashable, Engadget, Reuters, and dpa
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