May 25, 2022

In Russia’s latest strike against foreign social media giants since the start of a land war in Europe by invading Ukraine late last month, the country’s internet censorship fired a warning shot at Google for what it calls anti-Russian “information attacks” as described. The claims are being spread through YouTube, accusing the American tech giant of being involved in activities of a “terrorist nature” by allowing ads on the video-sharing platform to be used to threaten Russian citizens.

In a statement posted on its website today, Roskomnadzor claims YouTube is running targeted ads urging people to shut down the rail link between Russia and Belarus.

“The actions of the YouTube administration are of a terrorist nature and threaten the life and health of Russian citizens,” the regulator wrote. [translated from Russian with machine translation]I

“The spread of such appeals clearly demonstrates the anti-Russian position of the American company Google LLC,” the message says.

The regulator also warned Google to stop distributing “anti-Russian videos” as soon as possible.

The statement accused U.S. tech companies in general and tech giants Google and Meta (owner of Facebook) in particular of taking the “path of confrontation” with Russia through a targeted campaign of “information attacks” that said they were intended to “defame the Russian Armed Forces, mass media, public figures and the state as a whole”.

“Similar actions of Meta Platform Inc. and Google LLC violate not only Russian law, but also generally accepted norms of ethics,” Roskomnadzor said.

YouTube was not immediately available for comment on Roskomnadzor’s warning.

A direct warning from Google about government internet censorship could be a harbinger of Russia blocking access to YouTube.

Both Facebook and Instagram have been blocked by Roskomnadzor in recent days as the Kremlin seeks to tighten control over the digital information sector in parallel with the war in Ukraine.

Nick Clegg, president of Meta Global Affairs, said Facebook and Instagram were banned after Meta said it was trying to allow users in certain regions to post certain types of death threats against Russia. defended As a temporary change, he said, it was intended to protect “people’s right to speak out in self-defense.”

Roskomnadzor has also blocked Twitter in recent weeks.

But since its arrival in Ukraine, YouTube has avoided any major censorship, despite the company placing some restrictions on its service in Russia, such as suspending payment services for users (in response to Western sanctions against Russian banks). As a result this action has been taken. ). ,

In a sign that this could change, a Russian press report suggests a blockade is imminent, citing sources close to Roskomnadzor who said YouTube could be blocked today or next week. Sources in RIA Novosti say that blocking YouTube “most likely” until the end of next week.

Perhaps another secondary indicator of the ongoing cyber war between Russia and Ukraine is that the Roskomnadzor website was loading noticeably slowly when we presented this report today. It appears that he also filed a CAPTCHA request, suggesting that he is trying to prevent and/or mitigate DDoS attacks.

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