Roskomnadzor punishes Google over Youtube’s “participation in the information war against Russia”

Roskomnadzor – Russia's communications watchdog - announced the decision to take "informative and economic coercive measures" against Google, including banning its advertisements and marking the platform “a violator of Russian law,” the regulator said on Thursday.

Roskomnadzor called Google’s Youtube “one of the key platforms participating in the information war against Russia,” additionally accusing it of “spreading fakes about the course of the special military operation on the territory of Ukraine, discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”

Roskomnadzor also accused the platform of censoring Russian media, citing 60 incidents “related to discrimination by YouTube video hosting content of Russian media, government, public, and sports organizations and figures.”

“In addition, YouTube is not fighting against the dissemination of information by extremist organizations such as the Right Sector and the nationalist Azov Regiment,” the regulator said in the official statement, suggesting that over 12 thousand such materials remain online.

In response, Roskomnadzor will mark Google with a warning of a "violator of Russian law" in search engines and will block it from advertising itself until it complies with regulations.

“Measures of an informing and economic nature will be in place until Google completely eliminates violations of Russian law,” Roskomnadzor added.

Earlier in March, Roskomnadzor accused Youtube of spreading fake content containing “unreliable information” regarding the war in Ukraine, threatening to impose a fine of up to eight million rubles (approximately $100,597.92.) In case of non-compliance, fines for additional violations can reach up to 20% of Youtube’s annual revenue, according to the regulator’s Telegram channel’s post.

Russia has taken measures to tackle what it considers “the spread of fake information” through a series of blocks since the invasion of Ukraine. As such, it threatened to fine Wikipedia over "materials with inaccurate information of public interest,” recognized Meta platforms as “extremist organizations” for permitting “calls of violence against Russians and Russian soldiers,” and blocked Google News.

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