YouTube blocks Russian state-backed news channels worldwide

Google-owned YouTube has suspended all monetisation in Russia and has blocked access to Russian state-backed news channels worldwide.

On Friday, the company announced plans to globally enforce a policy that bars content that denies, minimises or trivialises well-documented violent events. It said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine falls under its violent events policy.

YouTube clarified the ruling on Twitter, stating: “Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimising or trivialising well-documented violent events. We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy.

“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.”

YouTube said that it has removed more than 1,000 channels and over 15,000 videos for violating policies around hate speech, misinformation and graphic content. 

The company previously blocked state-backed channels RT and Sputnik across Europe, but has now confirmed an extension of this across the world. Such outlets have called the restrictions placed on them ‘unjustified censorship’.

In a statement, Sputnik said: “The blocking by YouTube is nothing but a new turn of an atrocious attack on one of the fundamental principles of a democratic society – that is freedom of the press.”

YouTube has also paused all advertising in Russia, along with “all of the ways to monetise on our platform in Russia.”

The company is yet to state whether its shuttering of the likes of RT and Sputnik are permanent, and whether they would ever be restored.

Tags: RT, Sputnik, YouTube

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