“In response to the war in Ukraine, we are pausing Google monetization of Russian state-funded media across our platforms,” Google said in a statement to CNN Business on Sunday. “We’re actively monitoring new developments and will take further steps if necessary.”
The announcement marks the latest blow to Russia-linked media amid a wave of criticism directed at Big Tech platforms in the past week for allowing monetization to continue despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a separate statement this weekend, YouTube said that it will temporarily halt the ability of a number of Russian channels—including state-sponsored RT—to monetize their content on the platform. It will also be “significantly limiting” recommendations to those channels, it added.
As the crisis in Ukraine intensifies, social media companies have been scrambling to rein in misinformation and Russian state propaganda. A YouTube spokesperson said the company has removed hundreds of channels and thousands of videos over the past few days, including channels for coordinated deceptive practices.
The move by Google follows the ban announced Friday by Meta, on Russian state media’s ability to run ads and monetize them on Meta’s platform. Meta’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said on Twitter Saturday that the company will continue putting labels on additional Russian state media posts.
Also on Friday, the Russian government moved to “partially restrict” Facebook access in the country after accusing the platform of unlawful censorship. Russia’s Ministry of Communications claimed Facebook “violated the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens,” alleging that the social network had clamped down on several Russian media outlets Thursday.
In response to the allegations, Meta global affairs president Nick Clegg said on Friday that Russia had ordered the company to “stop the independent fact-checking and labelling” of four Russian outlets.
“We refused,” Clegg said in a statement. “Ordinary Russians are using our apps to express themselves and organize for action. We want them to continue to make their voices heard, share what’s happening, and organize.”
Google Maps in Ukraine
Separately, Google Maps has also blocked two features in Ukraine that provide information to users in real time, the company confirmed to CNN Business on Sunday.
Google made the change in an effort to help keep Ukrainians safe and after consultations with local officials, the company said.
The disabled features include the company’s live traffic overlay — a feature some researchers have used to monitor the conflict from afar — as well as Live Busyness, a feature that displays how popular a location may be at a given time.
Traffic updates are still available in Ukraine while using Google Maps’ navigation mode, Google said.
Ramishah Maruf contributed to this report.