Google employees fear that the company’s activities in Russia will be banned, including because of the YouTube video hosting, which “has become a serious source of tension in relations with the Russian government,” Bloomberg writes, citing anonymous sources.
The reason for the ban in Russia may be, among other things, the actions of YouTube last week. According to an internal document, YouTube froze the channel of the Russian Ministry of Defense, forbidding the Russian military to publish recordings for seven days. Judging by the channel of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, the last entry in the account appeared six days ago.
The document claims that the company took such a step after the ministry called the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “liberation mission” in two videos that YouTube deleted. YouTube management was notified of the decision.
After the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Google began to moderate pro-Russian media more aggressively. First, YouTube restricted access to RT and other state channels outside of Russia, and Google removed them from the news search. On March 11, YouTube removed more than a thousand channels related to the intrusion that violated the service’s content policy. YouTube executives admitted in private conversations that the removal of RT and other channels could lead to a ban on the service in Russia, a source familiar with the discussion said.
Google has secretly removed some of its employees from Russia in recent weeks. According to one of the agency’s interlocutors, a total of 244 people worked in Google’s Moscow office (the only one in Russia), and this month the company helped those who were interested in moving. It is not specified how many people left. The Google office in Moscow itself has not closed.
As another source noted, Google also removed employees from Ukraine, where about 50 people worked in the office in Kiev. According to an internal Google document reviewed by Bloomberg, the company informed employees that its staff “works around the clock to provide specialized security, as well as other support” to employees in Ukraine. A Google spokesperson declined to comment.
After the start of the “special operation”, YouTube announced that it had completely suspended all monetization functions for Russian users, and also stopped showing ads. Google has suspended the sale of advertising on its services in Russia. At the same time, the company has retained its main services in the country, such as search and maps, “to provide access to global information.”
On March 18, Roskomnadzor called the actions of the YouTube administration “terrorist ” due to the spread of threats against Russians and demanded that the service stop doing this. According to the regulator, we are talking about the fact that the YouTube video hosting broadcasts commercials with calls to disable railway communications of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.
Later , Roskomnadzor reported that “YouTube video hosting , owned by the American company Google LLC , has become a tool in the anti – Russian information war . Recently, YouTube has repeatedly censored the channels of Russian media, public figures, creative teams, sports teams registered in accordance with the law, as well as educational projects aimed at a wide audience and covering key moments of Russian history. ”