Google, Facebook allowed political advertising during election day, says Russia

Russia has asked Facebook and Google to ban the publication of political advertising during elections.


Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said tech giants Google and Facebook had allowed political advertising during Sunday’s regional elections despite being asked to ban such publicity.

“Such actions can be seen as interference in Russia’s sovereign affairs and hindering the conduct of democratic elections in the Russian Federation”, the watchdog said on its website.

Reuters was not able to immediately reach Google or Facebook for comments.

Russia is holding regional elections on Sunday, including in Moscow, after the exclusion of many opposition candidates triggered big protests in the Russian capital over the past several weeks.

Google, Facebook allowed political advertising during election day, says Russia

Image: Reuters

Roskomnadzor said on Friday it asked Facebook and Google to ban the publication of political advertising during elections on Sunday and on the preceding day, in line with Russian law.

In the US, late last month, Facebook announced that it is tightening its political ad rules, requiring new disclosures for its site and photo-sharing platform Instagram ahead of the US presidential election in November 2020. Facebook said that it is introducing a "confirmed organization" label for US political advertisers who show government-issued credentials to demonstrate their legitimacy.

Last year, Facebook began requiring political advertisers to submit a US mailing address and identity document. Under the new rules, they will also have to supply a phone number, business email and website.

To get a "confirmed organization" label, advertisers must submit a Federal Election Commission ID number, tax-registered organization ID number, or government website domain matching an official email.

Facebook has continuously revamped its policies around political advertising, which differ by country.

In 2018, it launched an online library of political ads, although the database has been criticized by researchers for being poorly maintained and failing to provide useful ad targeting information.

With inputs from Reuters