Russian telecom watchdog urges Google to ban promoting illegal rallies on YouTube

Cheryl Sanders
August 12, 2019

Roughly 60,000 protesters gathered in Moscow to demand fair elections, BBC reported on Saturday.

Russia's communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, says it has asked Google to take measures to prevent the advertising of "illegal mass events" on its video-hosting site, YouTube.

The watchdog, Roscomandzor, said organisations had been buying advertising tools such as push notifications on the video platform to spread information about the protests.

Tens of thousands of people on Saturday staged what observers called the country's biggest political protest in years, defying a crackdown to demand free elections for the legislature of the capital, Moscow.

It said Russian Federation would consider a failure by Google to respond to the request as "interference in its sovereign affairs" and 'hostile influence (over) and obstruction of democratic elections in Russian Federation'.

OVD-Info said 79 people were also detained in St. Petersburg, 13 in Rostov-on-Don, two in Bryansk, and two more in Syktyvkar as "solidarity" rallies attracted smaller crowds there and in other cities.

While the protests originated in complaints specific to the Moscow region such as alleged blacklisting of some opposition politicians from running in city council elections, they have steadily expanded to include a number of nationwide issues f- such as President Vladimir Putin and his administration's handling of the economy and declining living standards.

Russia's media oversight agency is demanding that Google take actions to stop its YouTube subsidiary from allowing users to send information about unsanctioned demonstrations.

Google has faced pressure from Roskomnadzor before, including laws requiring search engines to delete some results (with Google being ordered to cough up around $11,298 in 2018 for non-compliance).

Earlier that year, Google removed a YouTube advert by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after authorities complained that the videos violated a law prohibiting campaigning ahead of a vote for regional governors.

Other reports by iNewsToday