YouTube announced on Friday that it is instantly limiting access to channels linked to Russian state-funded media around the world, citing a guideline prohibiting content that rejects, dismisses, or trivialises well-documented violent events.
Google’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube, the world’s most popular streaming video service, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now falls under its violent events policy, and infringing material will be removed.
Farshad Shadloo, a spokeswoman for YouTube, said the Russian sites’ blocking was in line with the company’s policies.
YouTube had already prohibited the leading Russia state-backed networks RT and Sputnik in Europe.
Distributor limitations, which encompass app stores and other social media sites, have been dubbed “unjustified censorship” by Russian official media.
“YouTube’s blocking is nothing more than a fresh twist in a heinous attack on one of the most fundamental values of a democratic society: press freedom,” Sputnik stated in a statement on Friday.
YouTube refused to say which and how many channels had been restricted globally, or whether they will be unblocked in the future.
Its policy indicates that channels may be permanently suspended for many infractions, a single example of serious abuse, or if they are solely committed to destroying content.
According to three Google employees, workers throughout the firm had been asking YouTube to take extra punitive actions against Russian channels, accusing them of promoting false narratives about Ukrainian leadership and civilian deaths during the war.