Russia accuses Facebook and Google of interfering in its elections

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Russia, which was accused of interfering in America’s 2016 presidential election, is now accusing Facebook and Google of interfering in its regional elections.

Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said that Facebook and Google allowed political ads during Sunday’s regional elections despite being asked to ban such publicity.

“During the monitoring of mass media on voting day, on Google’s search engine, on Facebook and on YouTube, political advertising was established,” the agency said on its website.

“Such actions can be seen as interference in Russia’s sovereign affairs and hindering the conduct of democratic elections in the Russian Federation.”

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Roskomnadzor also warned the U.S tech giants, Facebook and Twitter of violating Russian laws by not storing data in the country. They threatened to ban Google for not connecting its search engine to the federal database of banned websites.

Roskomnadzor said there would be an “adequate reaction” if the companies published the political ads. The situation will now be “thoroughly examined” by the relevant commission in the Russian Parliament.

According to Russian media, Aleksandr Malkevich, a high-ranking member of Russia’s Civic Chamber, said that Google “displayed ads for the so-called ‘Smart Voting’ system promoted by opposition figure and video blogger Aleksey Navalny—these ads are said to have been shown to users searching for data on the local elections in Moscow.”

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Google and Facebook have not yet responded to requests for comments at the time of this report.