Russia moves to punish Google for YouTube ‘fakes’


A sign is pictured outside a Google office near the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Paresh Dave/

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April 7 (Reuters) – Russia’s communications watchdog said on Thursday it was taking punitive action against Google (GOOGL.O), including a ban on advertising the platform and its news resources , for violating Russian law.

Roskomnadzor accused Google’s YouTube video-sharing platform, which shut down Russian state-funded media around the world, of becoming “one of the main platforms spreading fake (fake images) on the conduct of the special military operation (of Russia) on the territory of Ukraine, discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation”.

Roskomnadzor said the measures against Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., which include a warning in search engines that it is breaking Russian law, would remain in place until it complies with the legislation.

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Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, Russia demanded that Google stop broadcasting what it calls threats against Russian citizens on YouTube.

The regulator also blocked Google’s news aggregation service in March, accusing it of allowing access to fake documents about the military operation in Ukraine.

Russia’s parliament last month passed a law providing for prison sentences of up to 15 years for the intentional dissemination of “false” information that contradicts government accounts of the military. Read more

The desire to control information about its campaign in Ukraine has heightened Moscow’s longstanding tensions with foreign tech companies.

Outraged that Meta Platforms (FB.O) allowed social media users in Ukraine to post messages such as “Death to Russian invaders”, Moscow blocked Instagram in March, after already cutting off access to Facebook due to this which she described as restrictions on the Russian media. Read more

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24 in what it called a special operation aimed at degrading the military capabilities of its southern neighbor and eliminating people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces mounted fierce resistance and the West imposed sweeping sanctions in an attempt to force Russia to withdraw its forces.

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Reuters reporting; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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