Google joins Microsoft in restricting access to RT and Sputnik

Yesterday, Microsoft announced that it is banning state-sponsored Russian content on its Bing and ad platforms due to the problematic situation created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Now, Google has joined forces with Microsoft and taken similar steps on its own platforms as well.

Russia flag with Google logo and stop sign

YouTube Channels connected to Russian state-sponsored outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik are now blocked across Europe. These channels are not allowed to monetize their content on YouTube or any of Google's other platforms either. Recommendations for these channels are being down-ranked globally too. The company says that it has already removed hundreds of channels in the past few days for violating community guidelines when it comes to spreading disinformation. In the same vein, Google Search will also show only authoritative news sources if you search for content related to the war in Ukraine.

That said, Google services such as Maps, Search, and YouTube continue to remain available in Russia. But the company has cautioned that Google Pay may become unavailable as sanctions are imposed on Russian banks and individuals. The company will continue to monitor the evolving situation and take further steps, if needed. Google further says that:

We've launched an SOS alert on Search across Ukraine. When people search for refugee and evacuation information, they will see an alert pointing them to United Nations resources for refugees and asylum seekers. We’re working with expert organizations to source helpful humanitarian information as the situation unfolds.

And after consulting with multiple sources on the ground, including local authorities, we’ve temporarily disabled some live Google Maps features in Ukraine, including the traffic layer and information about how busy places are, to help protect the safety of local communities and their citizens. We’ve also added information on refugee and migrant centers in neighboring countries.

Google is monitoring the cybersecurity space in Ukraine too, and has already blocked some malicious attempts to compromise the accounts of the country's military officials. The firm has upgraded its security implementations for Ukraine and its existing services such as Advanced Protection Program and Project Shield are already protecting personnel and companies in the country. Google has not detected any signs of account compromises so far.

That's not all though. Google and employees have donated $15 million for relief endeavors in Ukraine so far and the former is also offering $5 million in advertising credits to humanitarian organizations so they can be connected to people in need of support. Its Security and People Operations teams are providing support and reimbursement to Google employees in Ukraine too.

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