YouTube Source of Most Fake Info on Russian Internet, State Media Watchdog Says

In May, Senator Yekaterina Mizulina said that more than 6,000 false messages about the coronavirus had been identified since the beginning of April, primarily on the WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram messengers, social media pages and YouTube.

Roskomnadzor’s statement comes a day after Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny published a video to YouTube that shows him tricking an alleged Federal Security Service (FSB) agent into admitting the details of the opposition figure’s poisoning. The FSB called the video “fake” and a “provocation.”

Russia’s federal media watchdog has accused YouTube of circulating more fake news than any other foreign platform on the Russian internet, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited the agency as saying Monday.

“About 60% of fakes are related to the Covid-19 virus,” said Roskomnadzor, the federal agency responsible for regulating communications, information technology and media within Russia.

Roskomnadzor said that more than 1,000 inaccurate publications on the coronavirus have been blocked in Russia since the beginning of 2020.

The agency said it blocked fake reports about the deliberate spread of the virus through testing and vaccination as well as false infection and death statistics. Roskomnadzor also frequently blocked ads for drugs alleged to treat the coronavirus as well as websites that published fake information.

Yves Rocher Rebuffs Criticism Over Role in Navalny Affair

French cosmetics company Yves Rocher dismissed Thursday as unjustified criticism against it over its role in a 2014 fraud trial against Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

A Russian court found Navalny guilty in 2014 of defrauding the Russian subsidiary of Yves Rocher in a ruling later declared “arbitrary” by the European Court of Human Rights.

Navalny was handed a suspended sentence of three and half years, but was ordered by a Moscow court this week to serve jail time.

Yves Rocher was hit with a flurry of angry comments on social media calling for a boycott of its products and demanding freedom for Navalny.

The company said in a statement Thursday that it was committed to “individual freedoms, the rule of law and freedom of expression.”

Yves Rocher said it “condemns any infringement of these principles,” including any against Navalny.

The firm added that recent criticism directed against it was “unjustified.”

Yves Rocher explained it was summoned by Russian authorities in 2012 as part of an investigation into a company owned by the Navalny brothers.

It said that during the questioning that it discovered “clues” suggesting foul play against the company.

But Yves Rocher said it had never taken legal action or lodged complaints against the Navalnys.

It added that it “did not want to be used for political purposes or to take part in current political debate” in Russia.

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