YouTube blocks Russian parliament channel Duma TV, prompting Russian officials to warn of retaliation

Topline

YouTube blocked Duma TV, a channel that broadcasts Russia’s lower house of parliament, on Saturday due to US sanctions, leading Russian officials to warn YouTube parent company Alphabet of the retaliatory restrictions.

Highlights

A message on the Duma TV channel said the account had been “terminated for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service”.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement to Forbes it is “committed to complying with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws”.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a telegram post“on its face, YouTube signed its own terms of reference,” and urged users to save content and upload it to Russian platforms, hinting at a ban on retaliation.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian media regulator, required on Telegram that Google, the Alphabet unit that contains YouTube, is restoring access to the channel, accusing it of adhering to “a pronounced anti-Russian stance in the information war unleashed by the West”.

Chief Spokesperson

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said blocking the channel was more “evidence of violations of citizens’ rights and freedoms by Washington.” “The United States wants to obtain a monopoly on the promotion of information,” Volodin said in a telegram post. “We can’t let it happen.”

Key context

Russia and big tech companies have been squabbling since Russia invaded Ukraine in February and as Russia cracks down on dissent and seeks to limit the information Russians can access. Russia restricted access to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in March, and companies have also taken action, such as limiting the reach of posts linked to Russian state-affiliated news sources. Roskomnadzor announced on Thursday that it is considering banning Google’s advertising services in the country, affirming YouTube had “become one of the main platforms for spreading fake news” about the Russian invasion.

Large number

$2 billion. This is how much Russian bans on Facebook and Instagram will cost their parent company, Meta, according to Forbes estimates.

Further reading

Russia bans Facebook and Twitter (Forbes)

Instagram and Facebook bans in Russia will cost Meta nearly $2 billion in revenue (Forbes)

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