YouTube blocks Russian state media in Europe

YouTube said it was blockage Russian public news outlets RT and Sputnik in Europe six days after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine.

Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we are blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe with immediate effect,said Google Europe.

It will take time for our systems to be fully operational. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to act quickly.

YouTube owner Google released the statement after other tech giants limited the reach of state-linked Russian news outlets, which are accused of spreading misinformation about the Russian invasion.

Video-sharing app TikTok told AFP it had restricted access to Russian state-owned media on its platform in the EU, while Microsoft said it was removing RT from its app store and would change the algorithm of its Bing search engine to move RT and Sputnik content down. in the results.

Facebook’s parent company Meta said it would restrict access in the European Union to RT and Sputnik, which Western countries have accused of being mouthpieces for the Kremlin and serving as a platform for plead for war.

Hours earlier, Twitter said it would put warnings on tweets sharing links to Russian state-affiliated media.

The EU had already announced a ban on the broadcasting of RT and Sputnik in member states on Sunday, with bloc leader Ursula von der Leyen saying they “can no longer spread their lies to justify Putin’s war”.

Both outlets are Russia’s main outlets for non-Russian speakers, with RT offering a global network of channels, websites and social media accounts publishing content in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and German as well as Russian.

Social media platforms have become one front of the internationally condemned attack, harboring at times false narratives but also real-time monitoring of a conflict that has catalyzed Europe’s biggest geopolitical crisis in decades.

Netflix, which was facing new requirements to carry Russian state TV channels, said that “given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service”.

Apple did not immediately respond to inquiries about whether they would take a similar course.

In Russia, authorities have blocked independent news outlets for calling the invasion a “war”, and Russia’s presidential commissioner for human rights has offered to block Facebook while Moscow insists that it is a “special military operation”.

AFP contributed reporting.

Russia news

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