YouTube on Saturday barred Russian state-owned media outlet RT and other Russian channels from receiving money for advertisements that run with their videos, similar to a move by Facebook, after the invasion of Ukraine.
Citing “extraordinary circumstances,” YouTube said in a statement that it was “pausing a number of channels’ ability to monetize on YouTube, including several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions.” Ad placement is largely controlled by YouTube.
Videos from the affected channels also will come up less often in recommendations, YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo said. He added that RT and several other channels would no longer be accessible in Ukraine due to “a government request.”
Ukraine Digital Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted earlier on Saturday that he contacted YouTube “to block the propagandist Russian channels such as Russia 24, TASS, RIA Novosti.”
RT did not immediately respond to a request for comment. YouTube did not name the other channels it had restricted.
For years, lawmakers and some users have called on YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, to take greater action against channels with ties to the Russian government out of concern that they spread misinformation and should not profit from that.
Russia received an estimated $7 million to $32 million over the two-year period ended December 2018 from ads across 26 YouTube channels it backed, digital researcher Omelas told Reuters at the time.
YouTube previously has said that it does not treat state-funded media channels that comply with its rules any differently than other channels when it comes to sharing ad revenue.
Meta Platforms Inc, owner of Facebook, on Friday barred Russian state media from running ads or generating revenue from ads on its services anywhere in the world.