In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, YouTube has blocked Russian news channels RT and Sputnik across Europe.
On Twitter, Google confirmed the news, saying that it would “take time for our systems to fully ramp up” and that it would continue to “monitor the situation around the clock to take quick action.”
This move comes as part of a larger effort by tech companies to prevent their platforms from being used to spread misinformation. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all taken similar measures.
It’s not just social media companies that are taking action. All tech giants taking a tough line against Russia including Microsoft.
Microsoft has also chosen to avoid the dissemination of misinformation by demoting Russian government-sponsored sites Russia Today and Sputnik from Bing search results. The firm’s president and CEO, Brad Smith, stated in a post that it was taking action on both fronts as a result of the Ukraine crisis.
Yesterday, following a number of governments in the EU requesting Meta also ban RT and Sputnik, both Instagram and Facebook were shut down. TikTok also banned the two channels. YouTube had previously removed these media from earning money on its platform through advertising and had restricted access to them in Ukraine.
These actions come as the European Union continues to put pressure on tech companies to do more to prevent the spread of misinformation.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the EU would prohibit “the Kremlin’s media machine.”
Von der Leyen said: “The state-owned Russia Today, and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread lies to justify Putin’s war. We are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe.”
In response, Russia has also blocked or limited access to several US technology platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. Last Friday, Roskomnadzor, the Russian tech and communications regulator charged Facebook with violating “the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens.”
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