Meta, Twitter and Alphabet have all taken steps to demonetize and limit the reach of Russia’s advertising and state-run news outlets, aiming to prevent the spread of misinformation and propaganda.
Meta VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg tweeted Monday that the company will "restrict access" to Russian state-run news outlets RT and Sputnik "across the EU" in response to requests from European governments. Meta also blocked access to some Russian state-run media accounts in Ukraine on Sunday, and on Monday morning took down a Russian misinformation network that ran websites “posing as independent news entities and created fake personas across social media platforms.”
“This network used fake accounts and operated fictitious personas and brands across the internet — including on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, Odnoklassniki and VK — to appear more authentic in an apparent attempt to withstand scrutiny by platforms and researchers,” Meta said in a blog post.
On Friday, Meta's head of Security Policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, tweeted that the company was prohibiting Russian state-run media from running or monetizing ads on its platforms. Twitter also said Friday that it would temporarily pause ads in Ukraine and Russia “to ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don’t detract from it.”
Twitter on Monday also began appending more prominent labels to articles is shared from Russia-run news organizations. Meta has also been running labels on state-backed news organizations’ accounts, saying in a blog post that they “combine the influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state, and we believe people should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government.”
Meanwhile, Alphabet prohibited RT and other state-run channels from making ad revenue on its platforms, Reuters reports. The ban started with YouTube and was later expanded to all of Alphabet's websites and apps. Alphabet also banned Russian media from buying ads through Google Tools and running ads on Google services, spokesperson Michael Aciman told Reuters. Mykhailo Fedorov, head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, tweeted early Saturday that he’d asked YouTube to “block” certain Russian channels.
Russia has also been restricting social media from the outside in. Roskomnadzor, Russia's communications regulator, partially restricted access to Facebook inside the country, retaliating against the platform for fact-checking and labeling certain Russian media accounts. Russia also reportedly blocked access to Twitter for users in the country on Saturday morning.