YouTube bans any content with ties to Russian state-funded media

YouTube bans any content with ties to Russian state-funded media
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YouTube is now removing all content with ties to Russian state-funded media, it announced Friday, in its latest effort to curb misinformation and prioritize “trusted” news sources.

“Our teams have now removed more than 1,000 channels and over 15,000 videos for violating not only our hate speech policy, but also our policies around misinformation, graphic content and more,” the company tweeted alongside the announcement.

On March 1, YouTube announced it was removing the Russian channels RT and Sputnik, both of which are state-funded news media, and pausing all ads and recommendations for any Russian state-funded media channels. The company also drew attention to its Russia-specific information flags, introduced in 2018, which appear under videos to designate when content is linked to government funding. The panel reads, “funded in whole or in part by the Russian government.”

Along with its latest decision to expand these restrictions, YouTube added that the site has seen more interaction with its monitored “Top News” and “Breaking News” homepage shelves — the pages have received more than 17 million views in Ukraine alone. Moving forward, the company says it will continue to ramp up its systems to remove more state-sponsored content as needed.

YouTube suspended all forms of monetization for Russian state-funded content, as well.

Globally, social media companies including Meta, Twitter, and TikTok have taken steps to try and prevent the spread of misinformation on their platforms, from cutting revenue-generating advertisements to deleting accounts, even partnering with third-party media literacy organizations.

Gaming developers like Microsoft and Sony have pulled product launches and services, and service apps like Paypal and Airbnb have made the choice to suspend their offerings in Russia. These decisions will surely have an impact on Russian citizens who remain in the country as well as those abroad — many of whom are stranded without access to money or information due to global sanctions.

But the choice to remove Russian-state controlled media from sites like YouTube will hopefully turn more people toward trusted news organizations. And as many Russians face intense retribution from state officials for decrying the invasion and combatting misinformation campaigns from their own leaders, that’s a significant task.

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