Alexei Navalny smart voting bot

September 2021

Apple, Google and Telegram have blocked a smart voting chatbot devised by jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on the day the country starts voting in parliamentary elections.

Navalny's bot was seen as a way for voters opposed to Vladimir Putin to identify candidates able to defeat pro-Kremlin United Russia party candidates.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov said the service would abide by Russia’s 'election silence', a law practiced in other countries that prohibits campaigning during the elections and that Telegram would 'plan' to limit the functioning of bots associated with election campaigns in the future.

Operator: Apple, Google, Telegram
Country: Russia
Sector: Politics
Purpose: Facilitate tactical voting
Technology: Chatbot
Issue: Freedom of expression - censorship
Transparency: Governance