February 27 2022, 9:19 am

YouTube Bans Kremlin-Backed RT Media Outlet from Monetizing Ads

Fol­low­ing the Russ­ian inva­sion of Ukraine, US media is report­ing that Google has banned Russ­ian state-backed media out­let RT and oth­er uniden­ti­fied Russ­ian chan­nels from mon­e­tiz­ing their ads on Google web­sites, apps YouTube videos. Accord­ing to a Reuters report:

Feb­ru­ary 26, 2022 (Reuters) ‑Alpha­bet Inc’s Google barred on Sat­ur­day Russia’s state-owned media out­let RT and oth­er chan­nels from receiv­ing mon­ey for ads on their web­sites, apps and YouTube videos, sim­i­lar to a move by Face­book after the inva­sion of Ukraine. Cit­ing “extra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances,” Google’s YouTube unit said it was “paus­ing a num­ber of chan­nels’ abil­i­ty to mon­e­tize on YouTube.” These includ­ed sev­er­al Russ­ian chan­nels affil­i­at­ed with recent sanc­tions, such as those by the Euro­pean Union. Ad place­ment is large­ly con­trolled by YouTube. Google added lat­er that it was also bar­ring Russ­ian state-fund­ed media out­lets from using its ad tech­nol­o­gy to gen­er­ate rev­enue on their own web­sites and apps. In addi­tion, the Russ­ian media will not be able to buy ads through Google Tools or place ads on Google ser­vices such as search and Gmail, spokesman Michael Aci­man said. “We’re active­ly mon­i­tor­ing new devel­op­ments and will take fur­ther steps if nec­es­sary,” Aci­man said. On Wednes­day, the Euro­pean Union unveiled sanc­tions on indi­vid­u­als such as Mar­gari­ta Simonyan, whom it called RT’s edi­tor-in-chief and “a cen­tral fig­ure” of Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da. Videos from affect­ed media will also come up less often in rec­om­men­da­tions, YouTube spokesper­son Far­shad Shad­loo said. He added that RT and sev­er­al oth­er chan­nels would no longer be acces­si­ble in Ukraine after a Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment request. On Sat­ur­day, Ukraine Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter Mykhai­lo Fedorov said on Twit­ter he con­tact­ed YouTube “to block the pro­pa­gan­dist Russ­ian chan­nels — such as Rus­sia 24, TASS, RIA Novosti.”

Read the rest here.

In 2017, the NYT char­ac­ter­ized RT (for­mer­ly Rus­sia Today) as follows:

Ana­lysts are sharply divid­ed about the influ­ence of RT. Point­ing to its minus­cule rat­ings num­bers, many cau­tion against over­stat­ing its impact. Yet focus­ing on rat­ings may miss the point, says Peter Pomer­ant­sev, who wrote a book three years ago that described Russia’s use of tele­vi­sion for pro­pa­gan­da. “Rat­ings aren’t the main thing for them,” he said. “These are cam­paigns for finan­cial, polit­i­cal and media influ­ence.” RT and Sput­nik pro­pel those cam­paigns by help­ing cre­ate the fod­der for thou­sands of fake news prop­a­ga­tors and pro­vid­ing anoth­er out­let for hacked mate­r­i­al that can serve Russ­ian inter­ests, said Ben Nim­mo, who stud­ies RT for the Atlantic Coun­cil. What­ev­er its impact, RT is unques­tion­ably a case study in the com­plex­i­ty of mod­ern pro­pa­gan­da. It is both a slick mod­ern tele­vi­sion net­work, dressed up with great visu­als and styl­ish pre­sen­ters, and a con­tent farm that helps feed the Euro­pean far right. View­ers find it dif­fi­cult to dis­cern exact­ly what is jour­nal­ism and what is pro­pa­gan­da, what may be “fake news” and what is real but pre­sent­ed with a strong slant.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has exten­sive­ly cov­ered the activ­i­ties of RT.


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