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Social media companies ban Russian news RT in Europe

Silicon Valley faces growing pressure to censor Russia’s state-media outlets like Russia Today and Sputnik

SHARE Social media companies ban Russian news RT in Europe

In this Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, file photo, the app Smart Voting is displayed on an iPhone screen in Moscow, Russia. Tech giants like Google and Facebook have banned Russian state-media outlets on their platforms.

Alexander Zemlianichenko, Associated Press

Social media companies including YouTube, Facebook and TikTok moved to ban Russian state media in Europe, shutting down the Kremlin’s megaphone.

Per The Washington Post, this ban comes after pressure from the European Union Commission, Ukraine and some U.S. politicians.

What they’re saying: Google is banning Russia Today (RT) Sputnik in Europe.

  • “Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately,” Google Europe said in a tweet. “It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.”

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, followed suit.

  • “We have received requests from a number of governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state controlled media. Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time,” said Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs at Facebook parent Meta, per NPR.

Twitter has also said it would reduce the visibility of Russian media outlets on the social networking app, per TechCrunch.

Russia’s response: According to Fortune, Russia’s state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, demanded Google restore access to the Russian media channels on YouTube.

Moscow said it would limit citizens’ access to Facebook and Twitter and accused Facebook of “censoring” Russian media.

State of play: The EU is also moving towards banning Kremlin-backed media outlets, including RT and Sputnik.

A spokesman for Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, said the ban “expected to cover all means of distribution or transmission, including internet video sharing platforms and applications,” per TechCrunch.