May 25, 2022

Google has suspended billing on its Play mobile app store and stopped payment services for YouTube users in Russia, blaming “payment system glitches” over Western sanctions against Russian banks.

The event, first reported by Reuters, came after Russia invaded Ukraine and imposed sanctions on Russian banks shortly after the West opted for an economic response to Putin’s war in Europe.

In a support note on their Android developer website, Google confirms the Play billing suspension in writing:

“Due to a malfunction in the payment system, we will suspend the Google Play billing system for users in Russia in the coming days. This means that users will not be able to purchase apps and games, pay for a subscription, or make purchases with an in-app digital key. Accessories from Google Play in Russia. Free apps will be available on the Play Store.”

In another comment regarding “recently imposed international sanctions on Play developers”, Google states:

“We are committed to complying with all applicable sanctions and business compliance laws, and we will continue to adhere to the latest guidance. Users in affected regions will still be able to access Google Play, including downloading free apps, but will not be able to make purchases.

A FAQ alerts Play developers that existing subscriptions in approved regions will be canceled at the end of the billing cycle.

“The situation is rapidly evolving and we encourage you to return to this page for the latest information,” he adds.

A YouTube representative confirmed the “pause” for paid services in Russia and sent us the following statement:

“We recently stopped all Google and YouTube advertising in Russia. In addition to this, we are now expanding this gap across all of our monetization features, including YouTube Premium, Channel Subscriptions, Super Chat, and Russia Viewer Products. ,

We understand that the suspension of paid YouTube services in Russia takes effect: March 9, 1:00 PM PST – Affects YouTube Premium Subscriptions, Channel Subscriptions, Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Seller.

The latest measures extend previously announced restrictions on Google services in Russia.

On Friday, the company announced it was suspending its own ad sales in the country, but didn’t stop selling ads to Russians entirely, saying at the time it would allow organizations to advertise outside of Russia and continue to allow purchases.

It is not known if Play and YouTube payments are currently violating banking restrictions, which would also force Google to suspend its remaining ad sales in Russia. According to Reuters, YouTube channels in Russia are still able to monetize audiences outside the country through ads and paid features, suggesting that a complete shutdown is not happening, but Russians are increasingly able to pay from abroad. and get it when Western sanctions are lifted.

In recent days, other tech giants including Apple, Airbnb and Microsoft have taken similar steps to suspend sales and operations in Russia.

The tech platform has also taken steps to adjust its response to Russian propaganda, including in response to EU sanctions against Kremlin-backed Russian state media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik, when Google and others blocked their YouTube channels and duet apps. was announced.

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