YouTube has suspended all monetization programs for users in Russia — after previously halting ads in the country — given the ongoing Russian military assault on Ukraine, the video giant announced Friday.
In addition, YouTube said it is now blocking access to YouTube channels associated with Russian state-funded media, including RT and Sputnik, across the globe after earlier blocking them from access across Europe. “This change is effective immediately, and we expect our systems to take time to ramp up,” YouTube said in a statement on Twitter.
RT’s YouTube channel currently has 4.7 million subscribers, while Sputnik has 327,000. Numerous other internet platforms have either blocked access to Russian state media content, are adding labels to identify it as such are have otherwise suppressed it, including Facebook parent Meta, Twitter, Spotify and TikTok.
According to YouTube, the platform also is now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates its policy banning content “denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events. Since March 1, YouTube said, its teams have removed more than 1,000 channels and more than 15,000 videos for violating not only our hate speech policy, but also our policies around misinformation, graphic content and more.
Concurrent with the other steps it is taking amid the Russian war on Ukraine, YouTube said it is working to connect people to “trusted news sources.”
“So far, our breaking news and top news shelves on our homepage have received more than 17M views in Ukraine,” YouTube said.
YouTube said that its teams “continue to closely monitor the situation, and are ready to take further action. We will continue to share updates as they become available.”
YouTube’s updates come the day after a coalition of advocacy groups called the Change the Terms Coalition, led by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, issued an open letter urging YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki to remove Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik channels worldwide so as not to be “complicit in this war by allowing for the spread of dangerous information.”