Russia Asks Google to end “misinformation” on “special op” in Ukraine
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecommunications watchdog, asked Google to stop advertising campaigns spreading misinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on YouTube videos.
As the Russian telecoms watchdog claims, online ads with inaccurate content and no age labels are being used to instill “protest moods” and push false info on the Russian Army “special operation” in Ukraine.
“Roskomnadzor sent a letter to Google LLC (responsible for Google’s advertising activities in Russia) with a demand to immediately stop disseminating false information of a political nature about the special operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine on the territory of Russia,” the internet watchdog explained.
“Such advertising messages are shown to the Russian users of the video hosting site YouTube and contain misinformation aimed at forming a distorted perception of the events taking place and creating protest sentiments among the Russian Internet audience.
“The agency considers it unacceptable to use YouTube in the information war against Russia, including using the advertising capabilities of the platform.”
Roskomnadzor also notified independent Russian media outlets on February 26 (e,g,, Ekho Moskvy, InoSMI, Mediazona, New Times, Dozhd, Svobodnaya Pressa, Krym. Realii, Novaya Gazeta, Journalist, and Lenizdatnot) not to spread false information about the shelling of Ukrainian cities, as well calling the “ongoing operation” an attack, invasion, or a declaration of war.
Russia wants to introduce a new law that would punish spreading fake news about the Russian armed forces’ military operations in Ukraine with up to 15 years in prison.
Google working on stopping misinformation
However, Google has already taken action to stop misinformation, took down against disinformation campaigns regarding Russia’s invasion, and blocked YouTube channels belonging to Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik across Europe at the request of European Union authorities.
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Roskomnadzor protested YouTube’s decision, demanding the immediate removal of all access restrictions to the official accounts of Russian media (including RT and Sputnik) in Europe.
Previously, Google also demonetized Russian state-funded media across all its platforms, a measure that also blocks them from running ad campaigns.
YouTube has also removed hundreds of channels with thousands of videos violating its Community Guidelines, including channels engaging in coordinated deceptive practices.
“When people around the world search for topics related to the war in Ukraine on Search or YouTube, our systems prominently surface information, videos and other key context from authoritative news sources,” Google said.
For the time being, Google says that most of its services, including Search, YouTube, and Maps, are still available in Russia to provide Russians with access to global information and perspectives.