Subverting the Russian channels top US tech majors including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have unplugged major Russian media channels from streaming programmes and news regarding its invasion of Ukraine.
This comes after the European Union said that Russian state-controlled media outlets RT and Sputnik will be banned in the 27-country bloc with immediate effect.
“Systematic information manipulation and disinformation by the Kremlin is applied as an operational tool in its assault on Ukraine,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. “It is also a significant and direct threat to the Union’s public order and security.”
While YouTube and Google owner Alphabet, Facebook and Instagram owner Meta Platforms and TikTok owner Bytedance Ltd have already restricted access to accounts run by Sputnik and Russia Today inside the EU, Twitter has said it will comply with the EU ban.
“Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time. We will continue to work closely with governments on this issue,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, tweeted.
YouTube also has blocked videos on the site, after previously restricting ads on the content. Google said it would no longer permit articles from Russian state-funded media to appear in Google News and its other news-related features such as Top News and the News tab.
YouTube has also blocked mobile apps connected to RT and Sputnik from its Play store. Microsoft also said it would take steps to reduce users’ exposure to Russian propaganda, including on MSN. com. Snap, which owns Snapchat, said it has stopped all advertising running in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine.