Russia warns Google to stop promoting 'illegal mass events' on YouTube

Russia warns Google to stop promoting 'illegal mass events' on YouTube
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The Russian government is asking Google not to advertise “illegal mass events” on YouTube in the wake of ongoing demonstrations protesting the exclusion of opposition candidates from the September ballot.

The nation’s state communications watchdog, Roscomnadzor, said the lack of a response by Google would be considered “interference in its sovereign affairs” and "hostile influence (over) and obstruction of democratic elections in Russia," according to Reuters.

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The watchdog did not provide any further details of what measures it would take if Google does not respond, the news service noted.

Roscomnadzor reportedly said some organizations have bought tools such as push notifications from YouTube to spread news about protests for illegal purposes, such as disrupting elections.

On Saturday, several YouTube channels streamed live broadcasts of the latest protest in Moscow, which observers have said was the nation’s largest demonstration in eight years.

Late last year, the Russian government fined Google 500,000 roubles, about $7,663, for declining to remove certain entries from its search results. Earlier in 2018, Google removed a YouTube advertisement from opposition leader Alexei Navalny after Russian authorities said it violated campaign regulations, according to Reuters.

The Hill has reached out to Google for comment.