Russia, after protests, tells Google not to advertise 'illegal' events

Protesters attend a rally in central Moscow

Russia's communications watchdog has requested internet giant Google to stop advertising "illegal mass events" on its YouTube video-hosting platform.

"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.

According to the telecom watchdog, "some structures" were buying YouTube advertising tools (push notifications) with the goal of disseminating information about unauthorized events aimed at disrupting elections at various levels across Russian Federation. Some videos attracted more than 50,000 people according to organisers.

Protests erupted after several opposition candidates were controversially rejected from a ballot for an upcoming Moscow council vote.

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Although Putin continues enjoys approval ratings that would make Donald Trump swoon, dissatisfaction over his totalitarian rule-as well as police brutality against demonstrators-has further fueled dissent. Support for Mr. Putin has fallen to 64% earlier this year, its lowest since 2013, though it has since recovered to 68%, according to Levada Center, a Moscow-based independent pollster.

Roskomnadzor set out its requirements to Google in the form of a letter. 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).

In other Russian tech news, Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service said last week that it was investigating Apple on antitrust grounds after it prevented security firm Kapersky Labs from introducing an app with certain parental control features.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Minister-Counsellor of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Tim Richardson, and presented him with an official protest against the U.S. encouraging the unauthorized rally on August 3 by publishing the rally's route.

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