Reuters reported that YouTube has blocked Duma TV, which broadcasts from Russia’s lower house of parliament, drawing an angry response from officials who said the world’s most popular streaming service could face restrictions in response.
According to Reuters, a message on YouTube said the Duma channel had been “terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.” YouTube (owned by Alphabet, Inc.) had been under pressure from Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor and officials were quick to respond.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakhrova posted on Telegram: “From the look of it, YouTube has signed its own warrant. Save content, transfer (it) to Russian platforms. And hurry up.”
Roskomnadzor reportedly asked Google to restore access to the Duma channel immediately. “The American IT company adhere to a pronounced anti-Russian position in the information war unleashed by the West against our country,” Roskomnadzor said.
CNN reported a quote from a Google spokesperson. “Google is committed to compliance with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws. If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action. Our teams are closely monitoring the situation for any updates and changes.”
Here is what stands out to me: there are other video streaming services that Russia could potentially use now that their lower house of parliament’s YouTube channel is gone. Perhaps they could try to use Twitch, or Vimeo?
Twitter allows people to post short videos, and Meta’s Facebook and Instagram also can be used to post videos. Why isn’t Russia using those platforms? Oh, that’s right. It is because Russia itself restricted access to all of those platforms. According to Reuters, Russia also tried to ban Telegram, which is now widely used by their officials, but lifted its ban in mid-2020.
In my opinion, Russia’s lower house of parliament is trying to make the loss of their YouTube channel into something that it isn’t. Google is well known for blocking videos and channels that break their Terms of Service.