Bulletins

YouTube is blocking Russia-controlled media worldwide

The step is one of several that the platform has taken against Russia in recent weeks.

YouTube logo
YouTube wants to catch misinformation before it goes viral.
Image: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash

YouTube is now blocking access to channels "associated with" Russian state-run media globally, expanding its previous ban that only covered Europe, the company tweeted on Friday.


The ban goes into effect immediately, YouTube said in its tweet, but its systems will need time to "ramp up." The platform first banned Russian-state run news agencies Sputnik and RT on March 1 in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

"Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events," the company said on Twitter. "We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy."

Since YouTube began its ban of Russian state-run news in Europe, more than 1,000 channels and 15,000 videos have been removed for violating its hate speech policy, its graphic content policies and its misinformation policies, the company said. Meanwhile, YouTube is pushing "trusted news sources" in Ukraine, it said, with breaking news and top news stories receiving 17 million views in the country.

YouTube was one of the first platforms to crack down on Russia. It blocked Russian channels from advertising revenue in late February, with Alphabet, its parent company, following suit. On March 3, Alphabet-owned Google stopped selling ads in Russia in a ban covering YouTube, as well as search and publishing partners. The company took it a step further on Thursday, pausing all monetization features for YouTube viewers in Russia. The company tweeted that it is continuing to monitor the situation to take further action if necessary.

The latest decision is in line with goals previously announced by Neal Mohan, YouTube's chief product officer, who in a blog post said that the platform is working to take on misinformation by stemming its reach.

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