YouTube blocks access to RT and Sputnik across Europe

Google said it was cutting access to Russian state-owned media and channels linked to it across Europe, including in the UK.

YouTube displayed on a laptop computer (PA)
YouTube displayed on a laptop computer (PA)

YouTube has blocked channels linked to Russian state-owned media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe – including the UK – amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The Google-owned video platform said the ban was effective immediately but said it may take some time for the block to become fully effective.

The technology giant had previously limited the ability for RT and other Russian channels to make money for advertisements that appear on videos but has extended its sanctions to fully blocking such channels.

“Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately,” a statement from Google Europe said.

“It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.”

Fellow social media platform Facebook has also blocked access to RT and Sputnik on its platform having previously also limited those channels’ ability to make advertising revenue.

The change means the pages of the organisations are not visible on Facebook or Instagram in the EU, but for now, they remain visible in the UK.

Former UK deputy prime minister, Sir Nick Clegg, who is now vice president of global affairs at Facebook’s parent company, Meta, said the firm had been asked by governments to take further action against Russian state-backed media.

“We have received requests from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media,” he said on Twitter on Monday night.

“Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time.”

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