Russia tells Google to stop posting threats against Russians on YouTube

The Youtube logo is placed on a Russian flag in this illustration photo taken February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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  • Russia asks YouTube to stop broadcasting threats to Russians
  • Facebook, Instagram blocked in Russia; Google under pressure
  • Russia claims to have tools to develop its own social networks

March 18 (Reuters) – Russia on Friday demanded that Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) stop spreading what it calls threats against Russian citizens on its YouTube video-sharing platform, a move that could be a harbinger a pure and simple blocking of the service on Russian territory. .

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said the advertisements on the platform called for the suspension of communication systems of Russian and Belarusian railway networks and that their dissemination was proof of the American company’s anti-Russian position. He did not specify which accounts were posting the ads.

“The actions of YouTube’s administration are terrorist in nature and threaten the life and health of Russian citizens,” the regulator said.

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“Roskomnadzor categorically opposes such ad campaigns and demands that Google stop showing anti-Russian videos as soon as possible.”

Google removed an ad flagged by the Russian government, according to a source familiar with the matter who declined to describe it.

The dispute was the latest in a series between Moscow and foreign tech companies over Ukraine.

YouTube, which has blocked Russian state-funded media around the world, is under heavy pressure from Russia’s communications regulator and politicians.

Outraged that Meta Platforms (FB.O) is allowing social media users in Ukraine to post messages such as ‘Death to Russian invaders’, Moscow blocked Instagram this week, after previously cutting off access to Facebook due to this which he called restrictions imposed by the platform on Russian media. Read more

Russian media, including RIA and Sputnik, quoted an unnamed source as saying YouTube could be blocked next week or as early as Friday.

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Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev penned a fierce criticism of foreign social media companies on Friday, mentioning Meta and YouTube by name, but he hinted that the door to their eventual return to the Russian market would be left ajar.

“Free speech ‘guardians’ have seriously allowed their social media users to wish death on the Russian military,” wrote Medvedev, who served as president from 2008 to 2012 and is now deputy secretary. of the Russian Security Council. Telegram messaging app.

Medvedev said Russia had the tools and experience to develop its own social media, saying the “one-sided game” of Western companies controlling information flows could not continue.

“To return, they will have to prove their independence and their good attitude towards Russia and its citizens,” he wrote. “However, it is not a fact that they will be able to dip their toes twice in the same water.”

VKontakte, the Russian answer to Facebook, has been breaking activity records on its platform since Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.

The site has attracted 300,000 new users in the two weeks since Russia launched what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its neighbor.

On the day Instagram was blocked in Russia, VKontakte said its daily national audience grew 8.7% to more than 50 million people, a new record.

Anton Gorelkin, a member of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Information and Communications, told Russians about services that would help them transfer videos from YouTube to the national equivalent, RuTube.

“It’s not that I’m calling on everyone to get off YouTube immediately,” he said on his Telegram channel. “But, probably, in light of recent events, it’s worth following the principle of not keeping all your eggs in one basket.”

He said earlier this week that YouTube could suffer the same fate as Instagram if it continues “to act as a weapon in the information war”.

Russian tech entrepreneurs said this week they would launch image-sharing app Rossgram in the domestic market to help fill the void left by Instagram. Read more

In November, Gazprom Media launched Yappy as a domestic rival to video-sharing platform TikTok.

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Reuters Editing reporting by Andrei Khalip, Angus MacSwan, Frances Kerry and Grant McCool

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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