Russian communications watchdog seeks to ban illegal rallies ads on YouTube

Russian Internet Watchdog Urges YouTube to Refrain From Promoting Unauthorised Rallies

Several YouTube channels broadcast live as tens of thousands of Muscovites took to the streets calling for free elections to the city's legislature on Sunday.

Russia's communications watchdog Roscomnadzor has asked Google LLC to stop advertising what it calls "illegal mass events" on its YouTube service.

The demonstrations to which Roskomnadzor apparently refers were actually permitted, and thus legal, Al Jazeera noted.

"In the event of Google not taking reactive measures, the Russian Federation will consider this as interference in the sovereign affairs of state and also as hostile and hindering to the conduction of democratic elections in Russia and will reserve for itself the right to adequate response", Roskomnadzor said its letter stressed. While prior protests have focused largely on this issue, President Vladimir Putin is now facing growing ire over his handling of the economy and the declining standard of living, Gizmodo reports. The protests were livestreamed on YouTube; organizers claimed that some videos attracted 50,000 viewers.

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Moscow hasn't seen demonstrations of this scale since numerous marches between 2011 and 2013, when police largely stood idly by, allowing activists to rally against election fraud in a 2011 parliamentary vote and a 2012 poll that re-elected Mr. Putin to the presidency after four years as prime minister.

The country hit Google with a $7,663 fine in 2018 for failing to comply with the country's laws requiring search engines to remove certain results. Details about Moscow's potential action against Google should it refuse to back down has yet to be disclosed.

Additionally, Roskomnadzor's bungled attempt to ban encrypted messaging service Telegram a year ago resulted in the agency blocking millions of Amazon and Google IP addresses. Its Federal Antimonopoly Service is also now investigating Apple for initially not allowing antivirus provider Kaspersky to register an app with certain parental controls (Apple later gave in).

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