YouTube, Facebook and TikTok block Russian state media across Europe
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is forcing big tech companies to decide how to handle Russian state media that spread propaganda and disinformation.
European Union officials have said they are considering banning outlets, and Google announced on Tuesday that it is blocking Russian state media’s YouTube channels in Europe.
So far, other US-owned tech companies have proposed smaller changes: limiting the Kremlin’s reach, labeling more of its content and banning Russian state media from making money with advertisements.
Tuesday, Google announcement that he was blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik in Europe “with immediate effect”, but reminded everyone that “it will take time for our systems to fully fall into place”.
Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we are blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately. It will take time for our systems to be fully operational. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to act quickly.
—Google Europe (@googleeurope) March 1, 2022
Chinese TikTok said it was disabling Russian RT and Sputnik accounts in Europe, the Associated Press reported.
The changes are a careful balancing act intended to prevent the Kremlin from spreading propaganda in social media feeds without angering Russian officials to the point of blocking the platforms altogether.
Monday, Twitter said it would start adding disclaimers to tweets linking to websites affiliated with Russian state media.
“We’ve learned that tagging Tweets is another way to add useful context to conversations about some of the most critical issues,” said Twitter Site Integrity Manager Yoel Roth.
At Fridaythe Russian government announced that it had partially blocked Facebook because the social network had “restricted” the accounts of four Russian media.
In response, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, tweeted that the company was refusing to comply with Russia’s request “to stop fact-checking and labeling of content posted on Facebook by four Russian state media”.
At MondayFacebook discovered that Russia had tried to spread misinformation about Ukraine by trying to undermine trust in the Ukrainian government.