Currently Russia probably ranks pretty high in the list of the most ‘disliked countries’ and the same goes for the its President Vladmir Putin. The latter being constantly compared to Germany’s once popular dictator Adolf Hitler. The communist giant has become a subject of global condemnation and vilification ever since it attacked its neighboring country Ukraine. An act that has not only attracted criticisms but also sanctions not only from across several countries but also from international bodies.
The big tech companies – Google, Apple, Meta, Microsoft & Amazon – have also chipped-in in a bid to especially curb the Russian media. With this step the American technology companies are aiming to prevent the spread of Russian propaganda in the context of its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The American big tech companies censorship decision is hardly surprising given that the Biden administration has been openly critical about Russia’s so called misadventure.
This article will take a low down on the concrete steps taken by the big tech companies in censoring the Russian media, especially the Russian news channels RT and Sputnik. During the last few hours most of the censorship decision have mostly swirled around these two Russian stated owned news channels, since they have a global reach.
The Google owned streaming platform Youtube has completely blocked the RT and Sputnik news channels in Europe and U.K. Google and Youtube’s parent company Alphabet Inc took to Twitter to confirm this news. However, the company said on the microblogging website that it will take some time to place a complete blockade on the Russian news channels.
Alphabet Inc’s flagship company Google has equally gone full throttle in clamping down on Russian state media. According to Reuters, Google has blocked RT and Sputnik apps from its Play Store in Europe. The search giant has also removed RT and Sputnik from all its news related features including Google News.
Meta’s two powerful social media platforms Facebook and Instagram have demoted accounts or posts directly or indirectly linked to Russian media channels. The means that people won’t find it easy to find any news peddled by RT and Sputnik’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Nor it would be easy for Facebook and Instagram users to find people who are officially connected to RT and Sputnik channels.
Microblogging platform has taken series of punitive measures against the Russian backed news channel accounts. Apart from lowering the visibility of Russian state linked media account’s visibility, Twitter has also started labeling tweets containing the link to Russian media news channels. Twitter said that it started labeling such tweets in order to curb the spread of misinformation and fake news.
Video sharing platform Tik Tok has also joined the bandwagon by announcing that it will limit the access to all Russian media entities including RT and Sputnik across Europe.
Apple has temporarily halted the sale of all its products in Russia. The company had already stopped the export of iPhones and all it other popular products to Russia. Following these decisions, Russians will find it difficult to buy Apple products either offline or online.
Apple has also removed RT News and Sputnik news apps from its app store. Additionally, it has stopped Apple Maps live traffic reporting in Ukraine.