May 25, 2022

Continuing to develop its political response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, YouTube said it was currently blocking Kremlin-backed media around the world, not just in Europe, where Russia’s two state-owned channels, Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, have joined forces. . Their subsidiaries were approved by the European Union last week.

It is beyond, but not unprecedented, any legal right to block this content; Last week, Apple removed the RT and Sputnik apps from its global App Store at the request of Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Fedorov, who wrote a letter to CEO Tim Cook asking him to stop selling the devices in Russia. And completely blocked access to the App Store. , (Apple has also suspended sales of the product in Russia.)

However, YouTube’s wording suggests that be capable of In addition to blocking six (total) EU-sanctioned RT and Sputnik channels, the company writes that it now “blocks access to YouTube channels owned by Russian state-funded media around the world.” (We asked for clarification on the extent of the ban.)

Although YouTube’s widespread blocking of Russian state-run media “takes effect immediately,” according to the updated policy, the platform is justified. tweeted Outside, he also warns that it may take a while for the changes to take effect, writing that “we expect it to take time for our systems to go live.”

In another new move, YouTube says it will be implementing Ukraine-focused enforcement measures to enforce some of its existing community guidelines that ban content that denies, downplays, or denies “well-documented cases of violence.” Russian offensive. Ukraine violates this policy.”

Here, the expansion of enforcement – which is probably new (since the politics itself is not new) – seems to be a response to the fast-paced Russian propaganda denying the authenticity of reports of what is happening in Ukraine.

For example, the recent bombings at a maternity hospital and children’s hospital in the port city of Mariupol, which quickly became a target for Russian media with conspiracy theories suggesting that the victims depicted in photos and videos are actors or otherwise. they got stuck too such false statements That the hospital itself was a legitimate target, as it had been cleared of patients and staff by a battalion of Ukrainian militants who had taken up sniper positions there.

We also reached out to YouTube to ask questions regarding the broader context of this enforcement announcement.

YouTube said it has removed over 1,000 channels and over 15,000 videos since the last update on Ukraine-related activities for violating a number of policies, including a hate speech policy, disinformation policy, graphic content, and more.

He aims to show progress in previously announced measures to consolidate “quality information” about the war – that is, to help report the truth above Kremlin propaganda – and speaks of “reliable news sources” in Ukraine. There are about 17 million opinions. changed the course of the war. Users to this content (through the sections “breaking news” and “headlines” on the main page).

In another move targeting YouTube users in Russia, the platform also confirmed that it has extended its recent YouTube (and Google) ad break in the country to cover all the ways users can monetize the platform. Happening. Previously, YouTube left some monetization options open to Russian users.

Yesterday, Google also said it was suspending Play Store billing and YouTube payments in Russia due to Western sanctions against Russian banks.

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