Google blocks RT and other Russian channels from making advertising money


The Google LLC logo is seen at the Google Store Chelsea in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

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Feb 26 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) on Saturday banned Russian state media RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps and YouTube videos , similar to a decision by Facebook after the invasion of Ukraine.

Citing “extraordinary circumstances”, Google’s YouTube unit said it was “interrupting a number of channels’ ability to monetize on YouTube”. These included several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions, such as those of the European Union.

Ad placement is largely controlled by YouTube.

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Google later added that it also prohibits Russian state-funded media from using its advertising technology to generate revenue on their own websites and apps.

Additionally, Russian media will not be able to buy ads through Google Tools or place ads on Google services such as search and Gmail, spokesman Michael Aciman said.

“We are actively monitoring new developments and will take additional action if necessary,” Aciman said.

On Wednesday, the European Union unveiled sanctions against individuals such as Margarita Simonyan, whom it called RT’s editor-in-chief and a “central figure” in Russian propaganda.

Videos from affected media will also appear less often in recommendations, YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo said. He added that RT and several other channels would no longer be accessible in Ukraine after a request from the Ukrainian government.

On Saturday, Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on Twitter that he had contacted YouTube “to block Russian propaganda channels, such as Russia 24, TASS, RIA Novosti”.

RT and Simonyan did not respond to requests for comment. YouTube declined to identify the other restricted channels.

For years, lawmakers and some users have urged Google to take more action on channels linked to the Russian government, fearing they are spreading false information and should profit from it.

Russia received around $7 million to $32 million over the two years to December 2018 from ads on 26 YouTube channels it supported, digital researcher Omelas told Reuters at the time.

YouTube has previously said it does not treat state-funded media channels that comply with its rules any differently than others when it comes to ad revenue sharing.

On Friday, Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) banned Russian state media from serving ads or generating revenue from ads on its services. Read more

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Reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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