Russian state-run communications watchdog Roskomnadzor claims that U.S. tech giants Google, Facebook, and YouTube interfered with local elections this week by allowing political advertising, Reuters reports.
A statement on Roskomnadzor’s website reads, “Such actions can be seen as interference in Russia’s sovereign affairs and hindering the conduct of democratic elections in the Russian Federation. Such actions by foreign companies are unacceptable.”
The situation is particularly ironical since politicians in the U.S. have repetitively placed blame on Russian players for interfering with the 2016 presidential elections.
In a statement to Russian news network RT Aleksandr Malkevich, a high-ranking member of Russia’s Civic Chamber said that Google displayed ads for a “Smart Voting” system, previously promoted by opposition figure Aleksey Navalny. This news comes soon after 20 candidates, all of whom were endorsed by Navalny, successfully won seats in the 45-member Duma assembly in Moscow during this Sunday’s elections. Despite this setback, the current ruling party, United Russia is holding on to its majority.
The regional elections were held this Sunday soon after the dismissal and exclusion of a dozen Moscow legislature candidates and Putin critics that triggered big protests in the Russian capital in August.
RT report also states that Facebook allegedly took down two posts that Moscow’s Election Commission was trying to publish.
Reuters was not able to reach Google or Facebook for comments.