US media is reporting that Google has announced a cut-off of Russian disinformation sites from its vast ad display network. According to a report by CyberScoop:
September 1, 2022 Google says it took additional steps in the past week so that brands would no longer see their ads on Russian state-owned websites that are a regular source of Ukraine war propaganda. The move comes after a software developer tweeted screenshots of ads from major Western companies placed through Google’s display advertisement service alongside headlines spreading disinformation about the war. […] Google has long been under fire for how its advertising practices fuel Russian propaganda. A day after Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, Warner sent the company a letter encouraging it to “at a minimum” audit Google and Google sister brand YouTube’s advertising practices, including its compliance with sanctions. Warner’s letter to the CEO of Google parent company Alphabet asserted that Google platforms “continue to be key vectors for malign actors — including, notably, those affiliated with the Russian government — to not only spread disinformation, but to profit from it.”
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In February, the Global Influence Operations Report reported that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, barred Russia’s state-owned media outlet RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps, and YouTube videos. We have also reported on the Global Disinformation Index, which shows how Google and other ad tech companies and western brands have unwittingly funded anti-Ukrainian and anti-democratic disinformation.