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Tech giants restrict access to Russian state-owned media after EU edict

Tech giants restrict access to Russian state-owned media after EU edict
Photo Credit: Pixabay
1 Mar, 2022
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Following a ban on Russian state-owned media outlets, the Russian Times and Sputnik, by the European Union (EU), technology giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft have started banning them on their respective platforms. “The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, and their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war. We are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe,” tweeted Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission on February 27.  

On March 1, Meta-owned social media giant Facebook said it will be restricting access to the two media outlets on its platforms across the European Union (EU). Henceforth, any post by Russian state media firms on Facebook and Instagram platforms will not be possible in the EU unless the ban is lifted.

“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 Meta's VP for global affairs, Nick Clegg on Twitter. “We will continue to work closely with governments on this issue," he added.

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Meta had also placed restrictions on Russian state-owned media accounts in Ukraine a on February 28. 

On similar lines, Microsoft too has announced a series of measures on its platforms. On Tuesday, the company said that the Microsoft Start platform (including MSN.com) will not display any state-sponsored content from RT and Sputnik in accordance with the EU’s decision. It will also remove RT's news apps from its Windows app store and will further de-rank these sites’ search results on Bing, its Search engine.

“We are moving swiftly to take new steps to reduce the exposure of Russian state propaganda, as well to ensure our own platforms do not inadvertently fund these operations. Finally, we are banning all advertisements from RT and Sputnik across our ad network and will not place any ads from our ad network on these sites,” the company announced in a blog post.

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Google had banned RT from monetizing through its ad networks on YouTube, Search and more on February 26.