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Google: Ban foreign governments from posting online election adverts after Russian meddling

Google has called for America to ban foreign governments from posting election adverts after a backlash over Russian "fake news".

The internet giant told the US election watchdog that a current ban on proxies for foreign governments handing out election material should be extended to include online posts. It comes after Google and Facebook admitted that Russians paid for tens of thousands of dollars to run adverts online before last year's US election.

The ban would only apply in America but could be picked up by other governments including Britain amid fears it too have been targeted. It is unclear exactly how the ban would work, but at least the change would discourage internet companies from hosting such adverts.

The intervention comes amid growing fears that the Russian government spread "fake news" aimed at misleading voters before recent elections in America and Europe. Theresa May used a speech this week to call out Russia for planting "fake stories and photo-shopped images" to undermine the West, saying: "We know what you are doing.". Fake news is Collins Dictionary's word of the year. 01:42.

In a separate development, Russia's parliament passed legislation to declare international media "foreign agents" in response to US scrutiny of the Kremlin's RT channel.

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