YouTube bans ads on RT and other Russian channels

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YouTube is blocking state-backed Russian media outlets from advertising and earning money on the platform, as first reported by Reuters. As Russian troops continue to invade Ukraine, YouTube told Reuters it’s “pausing a number of channels’ ability to monetize on YouTube, including several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions.”

YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo told Reuters that YouTube will recommend Russian state-run media to users less often. Some of these channels — including RT — will also be restricted in Ukraine due to “a government request,” potentially in response to Ukraine digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov’s call for YouTube to block Russian propaganda on the platform. YouTube started labeling videos posted by state-run networks in 2018.

While YouTube says it’s barring RT from running ads, it remains unclear which other channels have also been temporarily demonetized. As Politico chief technology correspondent Mark Scott points out on Twitter, some state-backed channels still appear to have ads. The Verge asked YouTube for a list of affected channels but didn’t immediately hear back.

The Meta-owned Facebook has already moved to pause ads from state-backed Russian media on its platform, while Twitter suspended all ads in both Ukraine and Russia to help ensure the visibility of public safety information. Russia has since restricted access to Facebook and Twitter. Although Russia hasn’t blocked YouTube just yet, it threatened to ban the platform entirely for deleting two RT channels in September.

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