DUBAI: YouTube has taken down over 9,000 channels and 70,000 videos related to the war in Ukraine for violating content guidelines, according to The Guardian.
Earlier this year, Russia banned other popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. However, YouTube has continued operating in the country despite featuring content from opposition figures and cracking down on pro-Kremlin content.
Since February, YouTube has taken down several channels such as that of pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Solovyov, and temporarily suspended channels associated with Russia's defence and foreign ministries.
"We have a major violent events policy and that applies to things like denial of major violent events: everything from the Holocaust to Sandy Hook. And of course, what's happening in Ukraine is a major violent event. And so we've used that policy to take unprecedented action," Neal Mohan, chief product officer of YouTube, told The Guardian.
He added that YouTube is "the largest video-sharing site up and running in Russia itself," and is a place where "Russian citizens can get uncensored information about the war."
In its 2021 Ads Safety Report, Google said that it "acted quickly to institute a sensitive event, prohibiting ads from profiting from or exploiting the situation."
It also took several other steps to pause the majority of its commercial activities in Russia across Google products — including pausing ads from showing in Russia as well as ads from Russian-based advertisers. It also paused the monetisation of Russian state-funded media across its platforms.
So far, Google has blocked over eight million ads related to the war in Ukraine under its sensitive event policy and removed ads from more than 60 state-funded media sites across its platforms.
Still, Russia will not block the video platform, said Maksut Shadaev, Russia's minister of digital development, communications and mass media at an educational forum.
"We are not planning to close YouTube. Above all, when we restrict something, we should clearly understand that our users won't suffer," he said. – Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia/Tribune News Service