Google bans Russian media channels in play store
Late Tuesday, Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced that it had blocked mobile apps connected to Russian-state-owned media channels from its Play Store.
This latest company move specifically banned networks RT and Sputnik in Europe. The effort aligned with an earlier decision to remove them from its news-related features.
Google’s move came as the European Commission prepared to sanction the two Russian media outlets in the coming days.
The governing body proposed restricting the two state-backed networks in the European media market regardless of their distribution channel.
Correspondingly, EU operators cannot broadcast, facilitate or otherwise disseminate any RT and Sputnik content.
On Saturday, Google-owned YouTube also prevented several Russian companies from making money on the videos they post on the platform.
The video-sharing company also restricted RT and several other channels in Ukraine to control disinformation.
In addition, Google eliminated some Maps features in Ukraine in an effort to protect citizens. The company cut live traffic from the app and disabled a feature that reveals how busy stores are.
Big tech companies have rapidly updated their policies as international coalitions continue to pressure Russia.
For instance, Apple Inc. halted the sales of iPhone and other products on the online Russian storefronts.
The firm also discontinued RT and Sputnik download in its App Store for countries outside Moscow.
Like Google, it disabled traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine as a precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens.
Moreover, Twitter Inc. will also follow the EU sanctions on Kremlin-affiliated media. It will also add labels and reduce the visibility of tweets containing Russian network content.
Likewise, Facebook parent Meta Platforms also restricted the access for RT and Sputnik on its platforms.
Google, Facebook Work to halt disinformation
Social media businesses also exerted efforts to halt disinformation regarding the escalating crisis.
On Monday, Meta Platforms removed a network that spreads claims about the West betraying Ukraine.
It connected the hacking and phishing attempt by Ghostwriter, a well-known threat perpetrator.
Consequently, the platform added new safety features to Ukrainian accounts. It included an option to lock a user profile or hide a friend’s list.
Google and Facebook also demonetized ads that run on Russian state media accounts, denouncing the country’s actions.
Meanwhile, Twitter ensures that it actively monitors the risks and removes disinformation in its platform.
Recently, Ukrainian digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov released public messages asking tech leaders to drum up support for the country.