Google takes new Russia measure
US tech giant Alphabet Inc, which owns the search engine Google and video hosting platform YouTube, has suspended all advertising in Russia, it said on Thursday, as reported by Reuters.
“In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we’re pausing Google ads in Russia,” the company said in a statement. “The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when appropriate.”
The decision was taken after the Russian media regulator RKN ordered the firm to suspend ads that show “inaccurate information of a political nature regarding the special operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine.”
The watchdog claimed such ads were part of an “organized disinformation campaign” designed to “skew public perception” of the invasion and inflame protests in the country.
Alphabet had previously banned Russian media from using advertising on its platform and blocked access to the YouTube channels of RT and Sputnik in Europe.
This week, it banned the YouTube channel of football club CSKA Moscow, which was placed under sanction by the US for being owned by VEB, a sanctioned bank. The club has an association with the Russian military. A separate demand from RKN on Thursday ordered the decision to be reversed.
Other major US-based tech firms imposed similar restrictions. Twitter paused ad sales in Russia. The microblogging platform and Facebook also banned Russian media from monetizing their content.
Google Russia employs some 100 people. It had an estimated turnover of $790 million in 2020.
Russia attacked Ukraine last week in what it described as a regrettable but necessary intervention to curb NATO threats emanating from the country. The US and its allies responded with an array of sanctions aimed at crippling the Russian economy and isolating the country from the West.