YouTube blocks Russian parliament channel for violating terms of service

11 Apr 2022

Image: © Proxima Studio/Stock.adobe.com

A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said YouTube ‘has signed its own warrant’, hinting that the platform could face restrictions from regulators.

Video platform YouTube has blocked Duma TV, a channel that shares broadcasts from Russia’s lower house of parliament, leading to quick responses from Russian officials.

The Google-owned platform said on Saturday (9 April) that the channel had been “terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service”, Reuters reported.

Future Human

This is not the first time Google and Russia have had friction following the invasion of Ukraine. Last month, YouTube blocked channels of Russian state-funded media organisations such as RT and Sputnik, and Google suspended monetisation features for YouTube users in Russia.

The tech giant’s news service was then banned by the Russian communications regulator for what it called “unreliable” information on the conflict.

In response to Duma TV being terminated, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Telegram that YouTube “has signed its own warrant”. Russia’s communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, has requested that the parliamentary channel is restored immediately.

Google told Reuters that it is committed to all trade compliance laws.

“If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action,” the company said. “Our teams are closely monitoring the situation for any updates and changes.”

The response from Russian officials suggests YouTube could become the latest platform to face restrictions within the country.

Last month, Roskomnadzor accused YouTube of “spreading threats against citizens of the Russian Federation”, VOA reported. The Russian regulator claimed last week that YouTube is “one of the key platforms” spreading fake images on the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported, and said it was introducing advertising restrictions on Google as a result.

Last month, Instagram was banned in Russia, as a response to Meta’s decision to allow Facebook and Instagram users in Ukraine to call for violence against Russia in the context of the ongoing invasion.

This came after access to Twitter and Facebook was blocked by regulators in Russia when the platforms introduced restrictions on Russian media organisations such as RT and Sputnik.

At the start of March, Google was one of many global tech players that took measures against Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine. The tech giant stopped selling online advertising in Russia, which applied to ads on Search, YouTube and outside publishing partners.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com