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Russia Accuses Facebook, Google of Election Interference

“This can be considered foreign meddling into Russia’s state sovereignty and interference with the country’s democratic process,” the watchdog said in a statement

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FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Many materials published on Facebook and Google resources can be considered interference in Russia’s internal affairs, said an official of the Russian Central Election Commission.

On Sunday, municipal and regional elections were held across Russia, with a total of 22 administrative centres electing city parliaments, and three regional capitals electing heads of municipalities, Sputnik news agency reported.

“Much of what is published there can be attributed to those materials that directly affect a person who is making a choice,” said Nikolai Bulayev, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Central Election Commission.

“If there is an influence, I’m sure that this can be considered as interference in internal affairs,” Bulayev told reporters.

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FILE – A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

On the day of the elections, Russia’s communication watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said that it had determined that several US Internet giants — Google, Facebook and Youtube — had featured politically charged advertisements on their platforms, which constituted foreign meddling in Russia’s electoral procedures.

“After monitoring various media platforms on the day of the elections, it has been determined that Google’s search engine, the Facebook social media platform and Youtube’s video hosting service featured political advertisements.

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“This can be considered foreign meddling into Russia’s state sovereignty and interference with the country’s democratic process,” the watchdog said in a statement.

The Russian parliamentary upper house’s Commission on Protecting State Sovereignty will look into possible foreign meddling in the country’s local elections in the second half of September, the commission’s chairman Andrei Klimov said on Sunday. (IANS)

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Mark Zuckerberg Not Going to Sell WhatsApp or Instagram

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker's call to break his company, saying he's not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram

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Mark Zukerberg, Facebook, Instagram, Sell, Business
Zuckerberg, however, rejected these calls, saying the size of the social media giant was actually a benefit to its users and the security of the democratic process. VOA

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker’s call to break his company, saying he’s not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram at any cost.

Senator Josh Hawley (Missouri Republican) tweeted that he met Zuckerberg during his visit to Washington, DC on Thursday, and asked him to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.

“Just finished meeting with @facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Had a frank conversation. Challenged him to do two things to show FB is serious about bias, privacy & competition. 1) Sell WhatsApp & Instagram 2) Submit to independent, third-party audit on censorship. He said no to both,” tweeted Hawley, one of Facebook’s biggest critics.

Zuckerberg also met President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

“Nice meeting with Mark Zuckerberg of @Facebook in the Oval Office today,” tweeted Trump.

This is Facebook CEO’s first public trip to Washington since he testified before House and Senate committees in April last year over Cambridge Analytica data scandal affecting 87 million users globally.

According to media reports, Zuckerberg met several lawmakers this time and discussions included allegations that Facebook curtails conservative speech.

Mark Zukerberg, Facebook, Instagram, Sell, Business
Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker’s call to break his company, saying he’s not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram at any cost. Pixabay

As the chorus grows to break up Facebook, the social networking platform’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said that it won’t serve any purpose.

“You could break us up, you could break other tech companies up, but you actually don’t address the underlying issues people are concerned about,” she had said earlier.

Several US senators have called for breaking up the social network amid repeated data breaches and privacy violations on the platform.

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Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, has stressed that authorities should take a serious look at breaking up Facebook as the social network platform is a “utility that has gone unregulated”.

Another Democratic 2020 candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, has also stressed upon the possibility of breaking up Facebook.

Zuckerberg, however, rejected these calls, saying the size of the social media giant was actually a benefit to its users and the security of the democratic process. (IANS)