Russia takes punitive measures against Google over YouTube 'fakes'

A sign is pictured outside a Google office near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S. [Reuters]

Russia's communications watchdog said on Thursday it was taking punitive measures against Google (GOOGL.O), including a ban on advertising the platform and its information resources, for allegedly violating Russian law.

The Roskomnadzor watchdog accused YouTube, which has blocked Russian state-funded media globally from using its platform, of becoming "one of the key platforms spreading fakes (fake images) about the course of (Russia's) special military operation on the territory of Ukraine, discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation".

The measures come a few days after Google released guidelines for digital publishers reporting on the current Russia-Ukraine war.

The communication to publishers said Google is pausing monetisation of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.

“Due to the war in Ukraine, we pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war. Please note, that we have already been enforcing claims related to the war in Ukraine when they violated existing policies (for instance, the Dangerous or Derogatory content policy prohibits monetizing content that incites violence or denies tragic events),” read part of the communication.

With regards to dangerous or derogatory content, Google said it does not allow content that incites hatred against, promotes discrimination of, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or another characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.

Such incidences include promoting hate groups or hate group paraphernalia and encouraging others to believe that a person or group is inhuman, inferior, or worthy of being hated.

“Google does not allow content that harasses, intimidates, or bullies an individual or group of individuals. This includes Singling out someone for abuse or harassment, suggesting a tragic event did not happen or that victims or their families are actors or complicit in a cover-up of the event.”