Big Tech Censors Russian News Outlets

Social media platforms are restricting Russia’s ability to communicate with the world.

  • YouTube is suspending Russian state channels from earning ad revenue on its platform, Forbes reports.
  • The video platform targeted the Russia-backed news broadcaster RT, it said Saturday.
  • The move came after similar actions taken by Facebook parent Meta and Twitter.
  • The Google-owned video-sharing site is also restricting users in Ukraine from accessing the Russian channels, according to Forbes.
  • RT News claims YouTube has blocked RT channels from being seen in Ukraine “without warning” while “continuing to block certain content from appearing in English or Russian inside Ukraine.”
  • A spokesperson for the Alphabet subsidiary confirmed to Reuters that RT’s content would appear “less often” in recommendations, according to RT.
  • The notice warning RT received regarding the halt to monetization stated that the channel no longer complies with YouTube’s monetization policies, but “without revealing which rule, if any, the channel violated or when any alleged violation took place,” RT claims.
  • Another message referencing the entire RT channel claimed “the content”—without specifying which content—had been blocked from appearing on Ukrainian YouTube, without giving a reason for the ban or any means of challenging the ruling.
  • Australia’s satellite operator Foxtel joined the anti-RT pile-on on Saturday, declaring it would be suspending the distribution of RT’s channel in Australia “in view of concern about the situation in Ukraine.”
  • Twitter said Friday it was temporarily pausing advertisements in Ukraine and Russia to “ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don’t detract from it.”
  • In response, Moscow said on Friday it was partially limiting access to Facebook, accusing it of “censoring” Russian media.
  • Citing “extraordinary circumstances” in Ukraine, YouTube said it is pausing “several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions” from profiting on its platform and limiting recommendations to those channels, Forbes notes.
  • YouTube said it restricted access to Russian channels, including RT, in Ukraine in response to the Ukrainian government’s request to block Russian channels on the platform.
  • Ukraine Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted earlier on Saturday that he contacted YouTube “to block the propagandist Russian channels, such as Russia 24, TASS, RIA Novosti.”
  • Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy at Meta, tweeted Friday that Meta, the parent company of Facebook, was banning Russian state media from running advertisements or generating revenue on its platforms anywhere in the world, according to Forbes.
  • In 2017 and 2018, Russia earned between $7 million and $32 million in ad revenue across 26 state-backed YouTube channels, Reuters reports.