Russia warns Google to stop ‘anti-Russian’ ads

Russia on Friday demanded that Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google stop spreading what it called threats against Russian citizens on YouTube video-sharing platform, a move that could presage an outright block of the service on Russian-territory.

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said adverts on the platform were calling for the communications system of Russia and Belarus’ railway networks to be suspended and that their dissemination was evidence of the U.S. company’s anti-Russian position. It did not say which accounts were publishing the adverts.

“The actions of YouTube’s administration are of a terrorist nature and threaten the life and health of Russian citizens,” the regulator said.

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“Roskomnadzor categorically opposes such advertising campaigns and demands that Google stop broadcasting anti-Russian videos as soon as possible.”

Google removed an advertisement that was flagged by the Russian government, according to a source familiar with the matter who declined to decsribe it.

The dispute was latest in a series bewteen Moscow and foreign tech firms over Ukraine.

YouTube, which has blocked Russian-state funded media globally, is under heavy pressure from Russia’s communications regulator and politics.

Google scheduled to face fine by Russian officials

Outraged that Meta Platforms (FB.O) was allowing social media users in Ukraine to post messages such as “Death to the Russian invaders”, Moscow blocked Instagram this week, having already stopped access to Facebook because of what it said were restrictions by the platform on Russian media.

Russian news media including RIA and Sputnik quoted an unnamed source as saying YouTube could be blocked next week or as early as Friday.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday wrote a fierce criticism on foreign social media firms, mentioning by name both Meta and YouTube, but he hinted that the door leading to their possible return to the Russian market would be left ajar.

He further said that Russia has the necessary tools and experience to develop its own social media, saying the “one-way game” of Western firms controlling information flows could not continue.

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