Sponsored adverts have become a popular tool for political campaigns to reach their target audience. Facebook and Google now have a score to settle as Russia has accused both big tech of interference while election was underway in the country. Some political advertisers used both platforms to reach people on the day of election, as against Russian laws. Russia called out both techs.
Russia has asked Google to remove videos of citizens taking part in “unsanctioned” protests. Russia accuses Facebook and Google of interference with claims that both techs circulated adverts that interfered with elections in the country.
Facebook said it was tightening its policies for advertisers in the US; unfortunately, the policies don’t affect countries outside the United States. In the US, political advertisers will now have to verify their identity before they are issued a confirmed organisation label, without which their ads cannot go live. The adverts were seen on social media and the web at the same time that Russia had its elections.
Facebook asked Russia to talk to its advertisers, because they are the ones responsible for complying with local laws. The social network said it wasn’t in its position to determine right/wrong for political adverts.
Google, on the other hand said it supported “responsible” political ads that complied with Russian laws and that it wasn’t in their place to determine laws that are in opposition with the Russian government.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications watchdog insists that Facebook and Google have interfered in their elections by disregarding its request to ban political advertising at the same time that voting was underway across the country.
“Such actions can be seen as interference in Russia’s sovereign affairs and hindering the conduct of democratic elections in the Russian Federation,” it said in a statement.
Russian laws have tough demands on political campaigns across social media. The country forbids advert placement at the same time that elections are ongoing in the country.
Russia had general elections on Sunday including in Moscow, after it excluded many opposition candidates that fostered the unrest over the several weeks.
The Russian regulator asked Google to take down the videos or face punishment.