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Meta and YouTube block Russian state media from monetizing on its platforms

<i>Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/Getty Images</i><br/>YouTube said Saturday that it will temporarily halt the ability of a number of Russian channels
Photothek via Getty Images
Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/Getty Images
YouTube said Saturday that it will temporarily halt the ability of a number of Russian channels

By Ramishah Maruf, CNN

YouTube said Saturday that it will temporarily halt the ability of a number of Russian channels, including state-sponsored RT, to monetize their content on the platform.

It will also be “significantly limiting” recommendations to those channels, YouTube said in a statement.

The company said the channels are affiliated with recent sanctions, and that it has restricted access to RT and other channels in Ukraine in response to a request from that country’s government.

Earlier Saturday, Ukraine Digital Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on Twitter he contacted YouTube asking the platform to block “the propagandist Russian channels,” and specifically mentioned Russia 24, TASS and RIA Novosti.

In 2017, the US Justice Department forced RT’s American arm to “register as a foreign agent.” Intelligence researchers have said RT “conducts strategic messaging for [the] Russian government.”

As the crisis in Ukraine intensifies, social media companies have been scrambling to rein in misinformation and Russian state propaganda. A YouTube spokesperson said the company has removed hundreds of channels and thousands of videos over the past few days, including channels for coordinated deceptive practices.

The move by YouTube follows the ban announced Friday by Meta on Russian state media’s ability to run ads and monetize them on Meta’s platform. Meta’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said on Twitter Saturday that the company will continue putting labels on additional Russian state media posts.

“These changes have already begun rolling out and will continue into the weekend,” Gleicher tweeted Friday. “We are closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and will keep sharing steps we’re taking to protect people on our platform.”

Also on Friday, the Russian government moved to “partially restrict” Facebook access in the country after accusing the platform of unlawful censorship. Russia’s Ministry of Communications claimed Facebook “violated the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens,” alleging that the social network had clamped down on several Russian media outlets Thursday.

Meta global affairs president Nick Clegg said Russia ordered the company to “stop the independent fact-checking and labelling” of four Russian outlets.

“We refused,” Clegg said in a statement. “Ordinary Russians are using our apps to express themselves and organize for action. We want them to continue to make their voices heard, share what’s happening, and organize.”

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Clare Duffy and Brian Fung contributed to this report.

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