YouTube is Blocking Channels Funded by the Russian Government

YouTube said it will start blocking YouTube channels funded by the Russian government. The Verge reported that this comes after YouTube blocked channels like RT and Sputnik in Europe. Many of the details about this come from the YouTubeInsider Twitter account. The account is YouTube’s official account for updates to the press and media.

@YouTubeInsider posted a thread of tweets about this topic:

“1/ Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing, or trivializing well-documented violent events. We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy”.

That tweet was quote-tweeting a previous @YouTubeInsider tweet from March 1, which was also a start of a thread. That tweet said: 1/ Today, we began blocking RT & Sputnik YouTube channels across Europe. Since Russian began its invasion in Ukraine, we’ve been focused on removing violative content & connecting people to trusted news & information. An overview of the steps we’ve taken in the last few days.”

Returning to the current thread of tweets:

“2/ in line with that, we are also now blocking access to YouTube channels associated with Russian state-funded media globally, expanding from across Europe. This change is effective immediately, and we expect our systems to take time to ramp up.”

“3/ Since our last update, our teams have now removed more than 1,000 channels and over 15,000 videos for violating not only our hate speech policy, but also our policies around misinformation, graphic content and more.”

“4/ Our systems are also connecting people to trusted news sources. So far, our breaking news and top news shelves on our homepage have received more than 17M views in Ukraine.”

“5/ In addition, we recently paused all YouTube ads in Russia. We’ve now extended this to all of the ways to monetize on our platform in Russia.”

“6/ Our teams continue to closely monitor the situation, and they are ready to take further action. We will continue to share updates as they become available.”

The Verge reported: While not being able to access channels like RT and Sputnik worldwide is an escalation from YouTube, Google had already made it so the channels couldn’t monetize their videos. In late February, the company said that Russia state media outlets wouldn’t be able to run ads on their videos.

The Hill reported that Facebook and Instagram similarly restricted access to Russian state media in Europe and have stopped recommending content by those groups to all users. The Hill also reported that Twitter has been “slapping labels” on all posts including links to Russia state media.

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