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Russian media regulator asks Google to delete protest videos

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EPA-EFE  Julien de Rosa

Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018.

Russia's state communications watchdog has asked Google (GOOGL.O) to stop advertising "illegal mass events" on its YouTube video platform, it said on Sunday. The media regulator said Moscow will take the appropriate measures should the USA video-sharing giant refuse to comply.

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".

Moscow has a track record of putting regulatory pressure on Google, one of the main rivals of Russian internet search company Yandex (YNDX.O). This is especially true after the watchdog said authorities have the right to "an adequate reaction" to the issue.

According to Klimov, people who "took an oath in other countries" can not express their political position in Russian Federation.

Russian Senator Andery Klimov said on the day of the protests that YouTube was used by the opposition to promote the rallies that were reportedly peaceful at first until some protesters made a decision to take their cause to the streets, RT reported.

These technologies can not be used without the assistance of certain Western organizations and owners of network companies, the senator noted.

The sanctioned demonstration on Saturday attracted an estimated crowd of more than 50,000 people, the largest turnout at a Moscow protest in several years.

"In particular, according to our information, on August 10 our foreign opponents took advantage of information and computer technologies (including popular video hosting YouTube) in order to manipulate Russian citizens, who attended an authorized rally on Moscow's Sakharov Avenue", said the chairman of the Federation Council's temporary commission for the protection of state sovereignty and prevention of interference in Russia's internal affairs, Andrei Klimov.

In July, Roskomnadzor fined Google 700,000 rubles ($11,000) for failing to censor content blacklisted by the agency in accordance with strict Russian Internet laws.

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