YouTube bans Russian state-funded media worldwide

YouTube’s move to censor Russian media follows Facebook and Instagram’s move to restrict access to Russian media outlets to all users.

YouTube bans Russian state-funded media worldwide
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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YouTube announced Friday that it’s expanding its ban on the dissemination of Russian state-funded media by banning its channels from being viewed worldwide.

The social media platform, which is owned by Google, previously blocked access to RT and Sputnik for European users following the European Union and United Kingdom’s sanctions on Russia over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Big Tech’s decision to clamp down on Russian media sources comes amid the United States’ push to censor news sources that contradict mainstream narratives.

While Russian state-media has been targeted by censorship, the Chinese state-run propaganda outfits have been allowed to freely disseminate conspiracy theories about the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which it has at times blamed Italy, American troops, and Western governments for the pandemic.

To date, Chinese state-run media organizations have not been censored by any social media platforms, including YouTube.

“Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events,” YouTube said in a statement Friday. “We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy.”

​​“In line with that, we are also now blocking access to YouTube channels associated with Russian state-funded media globally, expanding from across Europe.”

YouTube’s move to censor Russian media follows Facebook and Instagram’s move to restrict access to Russian media outlets to all users. TikTok has instituted a similar ban on Russian content in Europe.

Twitter remains the only platform in which Russian media outlets and government institutions have been allowed to operate, choosing instead to apply labels on all posts linking to Russian media platforms instead of banning them.

Unlike YouTube, independent video sharing platforms Rumble and Odysee have refused to censor Russian state-run media outlet RT.

“The U.S. mainstream media, as it so often does when writing about Rumble, has spent the day disseminating a completely false and misleading story about our relationship to the Russia-state news network RT. Contrary to false reports, RT did not join Rumble today or any time in the last several weeks,” said Rumble in a statement posted on Twitter regarding reports that the network developed a relationship with Rumble.

“To the contrary, RT, like thousands of other users, has for a long while used Rumble, along with several other tech platforms, to publish their content. In this regard, their use of Rumble is exactly the same as their use of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter: they are like any other user, availing themselves of our platform.”

“Rumble is a neutral video platform, built on the belief that all creators should have the opportunity to freely express themselves and reach their followers without censorship or restrictions. You cannot fight aggressive authoritarians by surrendering a key principle that separates us from them.”

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