Russia tells Google not to advertise ‘illegal’ events

Police detain a man during a protest in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (AP)
Updated 13 August 2019

Russia tells Google not to advertise ‘illegal’ events

  • Russia has adopted a series of measures to increase control over the Internet in recent years

MOSCOW: Russian MPs will hold a special session next week to discuss alleged “meddling” by foreign powers after huge protests in Moscow, following a government warning to YouTube.
Russia’s state communications watchdog has also asked Google to stop advertising “illegal mass events” on its YouTube video platform.
The speaker of the lower house State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said “facts of meddling in domestic issues in our country” would be debated on Aug. 19.
Russia has accused foreign governments and media of backing the demonstrations, which have seen tens of thousands rally in recent weeks demanding free local elections.
On Sunday, the government’s internet watchdog Roskomnadzor accused Google of “advertising unsanctioned mass actions” on YouTube. The watchdog pointed to “various structures with YouTube channels” disseminating information about unsanctioned protests.
It said the channels use “advertising instruments” such as “push notifications” to “disrupt elections” and warned Google that Moscow will view inaction on its part as “meddling in Russia’s sovereign elections.”
The rallies, some unsanctioned, have rocked Moscow for the past month, with the largest on Saturday drawing up to 60,000 people. Protesters are outraged over the exclusion of opposition candidates from Moscow city hall elections next month.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Russia’s state communications watchdog said digital channels use ‘advertising instruments’ such as ‘push notifications’ to ‘disrupt elections.’

• It warned Google that Moscow will view inaction on its part as ‘meddling in Russia’s sovereign elections.’

• Opposition rallies, some unsanctioned, have rocked Moscow for the past month, with the largest on Saturday drawing up to 60,000 people.

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested including chief Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, whose team runs a YouTube channel and operated a live feed from the protests.
Roskomnadzor has a fraught relationship with global internet platforms and social networks, but its attempts to control them have not been very successful. Although the Telegram messaging service is formally banned, it is still available in the country. Navalny’s ally Lyubov Sobol, whose petition to run in the election was rejected, called Roskomnadzor’s demands “comical.”
YouTube notifications are alerts sent to users subscribed to a particular channel about new videos.
Russian senator Andrei Klimov on Monday said senators will be also calling in envoys of countries which “attempted to meddle in Russia’s domestic affairs,” news agency Tass reported.
Last week Moscow summoned a representative of the US Embassy, saying a “demonstration alert” it sent with details of the protest amounted to “an attempt to intervene” in Russian affairs.
Moscow also criticized German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle for what it said were calls to take part in the rally.


Bangladesh police say violence over Facebook post kills 4

Updated 20 October 2019

Bangladesh police say violence over Facebook post kills 4

  • The violence took place Sunday in Borhanuddin in the southern district of Bhola when angry protesters demanded the punishment of a Hindu man for the alleged Facebook comment
  • The man denied making the comment, saying his Facebook account had been hacked

DHAKA, Bangladesh: Police say at least four people were killed after security officials in southern Bangladesh opened fire to disperse hundreds of Muslims during a protest over an alleged social media post undermining Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Local police chief Sarkar Mohammad Kaisar says the violence took place Sunday in Borhanuddin in the southern district of Bhola when angry protesters demanded the punishment of a Hindu man for the alleged Facebook comment. The man denied making the comment, saying his Facebook account had been hacked.
Kaisar says four people were killed and dozens were wounded.
Communal tensions often pop up in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, with minority groups saying they face discrimination.