Google has suspended its advertising operations in Russia, meaning no ads on search, YouTube and display marketing will be visible within the country, a Google spokesperson told Protocol.
“In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we’re pausing Google ads in Russia,” the spokesperson said. “The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when appropriate.”
The move comes after Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor called on Google to take down "false" ads about the war in Ukraine, alleging YouTube was running large "advertising campaigns to misinform the Russian audience," The Wall Street Journal reported.
Several other platforms have restricted ads in Russia. Meta banned state-run media from running or monetizing ads on its platforms; Twitter ceased its ads business in Russia and Ukraine; and Snap also stopped ads in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
But Google is the biggest company to restrict ads across its platforms. The company continues to dominate the online ads market; in 2021, the company raked in $209.5 billion in advertising revenue. Google's main advertising rivals, Facebook parent company Meta and Amazon, reported $115 billion and $31 billion in ad revenue last year, respectively.
Google has taken a couple other steps in response to the war in Ukraine, including banning RT and Sputnik from the Google Play Store and prohibiting Russian media from buying ads through Google Tools and running ads on Google services. The company also instituted a policy that blocked ads related to the war that aim to "take advantage of the situation," a spokesperson said.
Tech companies' responses to the war in Ukraine have escalated since the conflict began. Most recently, Airbnb announced that it has suspended operations in Russia and Belarus, while Microsoft reportedly followed Apple in suspending sales of products and services in Russia.
Protocol is tracking the ways governments, platforms and companies are responding to the war. Information is added daily as news comes in and events change.