Friday, Russia asked Google not to spread what it called threats against Russian citizens on its YouTube video-sharing platform, which could lead to the service being blocked on Russian soil. The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said ads on the platform were calling for the communications systems of Russia and Belarus’ rail networks to be shut down and that their spread was proof that the US company was anti-Russian. It didn’t say which accounts were running the ads.
People in Russia are going to die and get sick if YouTube’s bosses do what they do, the regulator said. This is what the Russian government says: “Roskomnadzor strongly opposes these advertising campaigns and wants Google to stop broadcasting anti-Russian videos as soon as possible.”
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There have been a lot of disagreements between Moscow and foreign tech companies about Ukraine. This was the most recent in a long line. In Russia, the country’s communications regulator and politicians are putting a lot of pressure on YouTube.
This week, Russia blocked Instagram because it was angry that Meta was letting people in Ukraine post messages like “Death to the Russian invaders” on social media. It had already blocked Facebook because of what it said were restrictions by Facebook on Russian media. Unnamed sources told Russian media that YouTube could be blocked next week or as early as Friday.
Alternatives for the home
Ex-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev slammed foreign social media companies in a scathing letter on Friday. He named Meta and YouTube by name, but he hinted that the door to their possible return to the Russian market would be open.
Medvedev said Russia has the tools and experience to make its own social media. He said the “one-way game” of Western companies controlling information flows could not go on.
“In order to come back, they will have to show that they are free and have a good attitude toward Russia and its people,” he said. If they want to dip their toes in the same water again, they won’t be able to.
In the two weeks after Russia started what it called a “special operation” to “demilitarise” and “de-Naziify” its neighbor, the site gained more than 3 million new users.
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Instagram was blocked in Russia on the day VKontakte said its daily domestic audience grew by 8.7% to more than 50 million people, a new record for the service.
People in Russia can use services to move videos from YouTube to RuTube, which is the country’s version of the site. Anton Gorelkin, a member of the State Duma’s committee on information and communications, did this.
They said this week that they were going to launch a picture-sharing app called Rossgram in Russia. It helps fill the void left by Instagram. During the month of November, Gazprom Media launched Yappy, a video-sharing app that competes with TikTok at home.
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