Alphabet Inc.’s Google barred on Saturday Russia’s state-owned media outlet RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook after the invasion of Ukraine.
Citing “extraordinary circumstances,” Google’s YouTube unit said it was “pausing a number of channels’ ability to monetize on YouTube.” These included several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions, such as those by the European Union.
Ad placement is largely controlled by YouTube.
Google added later that it was also barring Russian state-funded media outlets from using its ad technology to generate revenue on their own websites and apps.
In addition, the Russian media will not be able to buy ads through Google Tools or place ads on Google services such as search and Gmail, spokesman Michael Aciman said.
On Wednesday, the European Union unveiled sanctions on individuals such as Margarita Simonyan, whom it called RT’s editor-in-chief and “a central figure” of Russian propaganda.
Videos from the affected channels also will come up less often in recommendations, YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo said. He added that RT and several other channels would no longer be accessible in Ukraine because of a Ukrainian government request.
We intend to help Russians and the world to know the truth. I’ve contacted @YouTube to block the propagandist Russian channels — such as Russia 24, TASS, RIA Novosti. If they are afraid of speaking the truth, so we should stop this flow of poisonous lies.— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 26, 2022
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.”
RT and Simonyan did not respond to requests for comment. YouTube declined to name the other channels it had restricted.
For years, lawmakers and some users have called on YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, to take greater action against channels with ties to the Russian government out of concern that they spread misinformation and should not profit from that.
Russia received an estimated $7-million to $32-million over the two-year period ended December 2018 from ads across 26 YouTube channels it backed, digital researcher Omelas told Reuters at the time.
YouTube previously has said that it does not treat state-funded media channels that comply with its rules any differently than other channels when it comes to sharing ad revenue.
Meta Platforms Inc, owner of Facebook Inc., on Friday barred Russian state media from running ads or generating revenue from ads on its services anywhere in the world.