Russian state-owned communications watchdog Roskomnadzor claims that U.S. tech giants Google, Facebook, and YouTube interfered with local elections this week by allowing political ads, Reuters reports.
“Such actions can be seen as interference in Russia’s sovereign affairs and hindering the conduct of democratic elections in the Russian Federation,” reads a statement on Roskomnadzor’s website. “Such actions by foreign companies are unacceptable.”
Aleksandr Malkevich, a high-ranking member of Russia’s Civic Chamber, told Russian news network RT that Google displayed ads for a “Smart Voting” system, previously promoted by opposition figure Aleksey Navalny.
The news comes after 20 candidates — all endorsed by Navalny — nabbed seats in the 45-member Duma assembly in Moscow during Sunday’s elections. Despite a big loss, United Russia, the party currently in power, is holding on to its majority.
Putin on the Ritz
The news also comes after the dismissal and exclusion of a dozen Moscow legislature candidates and Putin critics — many of them Navalny supporters — by the Kremlin triggered a massive protest in August.
RT also reports that Facebook allegedly took down two posts that Moscow’s Election Commission was trying to post.
Google, Facebook and YouTube didn’t respond to questions from Reuters.
READ MORE: Russia says Facebook, Google distributed political ads on election day [Reuters]
More on election interference: The 2020 Election Is Not Safe From Hackers