YouTube has blocked Russian state media outlet RT from Ukraine and suspended its ability to monetize its content on the platform globally, the video giant said Saturday.
The move to restrict RT and several other Russian channels comes after the Ukrainian government asked YouTube to cut off access from within the country, YouTube told CNN.
In a statement, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi cited “extraordinary circumstances in Ukraine” for the company’s steps.
"In light of extraordinary circumstances in Ukraine, we’re taking a number of actions,” Choi said. "We’re pausing a number of channels’ ability to monetize on YouTube, including several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions. We will be significantly limiting recommendations to these channels. And in response to a government request, we’ve restricted access to RT and a number of other channels in Ukraine. We will continue to monitor new developments and may take further actions.”
YouTube also said that in recent days, it has removed hundreds of channels and thousands of videos that violated its policies, among them a number of channels that the company said were engaging in coordinated deception.
YouTube’s decision follows widespread criticism as journalists, activists and even a member of Congress noticed that the platform was running ads against content from RT.
A letter to YouTube’s parent Alphabet on Friday by Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner said his staff was able to find instances of RT’s monetization on YouTube, and that he had alerted the Departments of Justice and Treasury to a report about YouTube allowing sanctioned entities to monetize on YouTube as well.