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Google stops monetisation of content that condones Russian invasion of Ukraine

By Patrick Vidija | Apr 2nd 2022 | 4 min read

Hands holding an iPad with Google site. [Getty Images]

Google has 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),” reads parts of the communication.

Guidance to publishers

Google says the update is meant to clarify, and in some cases expand its publisher guidance as it relates to the current conflict.

“This pause includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim-blaming such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens,” says Google.

Google is in the process of migrating and consolidating all its Publisher Policies and Google Publisher Restrictions to the new Publisher Policies Help Center.

Blocked adverts

“When you monetise your content with Google ad code you are required to adhere to the following policies. Failure to comply with these policies may result in Google blocking ads from appearing against your content, or suspending or terminating your account,” the guidelines state.

These policies will apply in addition to any other policies governing the use of Google publisher products.

Content types that have been banned

With regards to dangerous or derogatory content, Google says 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.”

Mental harm

Any content that threatens or advocates for physical or mental harm to oneself or others is also an area of concern in the guidelines.

This ranges from content that advocates for suicide, anorexia, or other self-harm; threatening someone with real-life harm or calling for the attack of another person; promoting, glorifying, or condoning violence against others; content made by or in support of terrorist groups or transnational drug trafficking organizations, or content that promotes terrorist acts, including recruitment, or that celebrates attacks by transnational drug trafficking or terrorist organizations.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, an act that has been regarded as aggression internationally.

The invasion has triggered Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II with more than 4.1 million Ukrainians leaving the country.

The invasion marked a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in 2014 following the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity. Russia subsequently annexed Crimea, and Russian-backed separatists seized part of the south-eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, sparking a war there.

The war escalated on Feb 21, 2022, after President Vladimir Putin recognized Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, two self-proclaimed statelets in Donbas controlled by pro-Russian separatists

Putin later announced a "special military operation" to "demilitarise and denazify" Ukraine.

In response, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky enacted martial law and general mobilisation.

The latest United Nations report indicates that by March 29, 2022, over 1,179 civilians had been killed in the war and 1,860 were left injured.

Sanctions on the Russian economy

As a result, a large coalition of states, including the European Union, the U.S, Canada, and the United Kingdom among others agreed to impose sanctions on select Russian banks.

The sanctions were aimed at banning these banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) international payment messaging system.

They were also aimed at economically isolating Russia and crippling the Russian financial system in order to pressure the Putin regime to end its military operations in Ukraine.

Seven Russian banks were removed from SWIFT, effectively denying them access to international markets.

The prohibition on trade in arms, prohibition on public financing or financial assistance for trade with, or investment in Russia, prohibition on investment and contribution to projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund and prohibition on exports of dual-use goods as well as advanced technology items that can contribute to Russia’s defence and security capabilities were among the sanctions.

Other sanctions include a prohibition on the broadcast in the EU of certain Russian state-owned media outlets, prohibition on exports of goods for use in the oil industry, prohibition on new investments in the energy sector and the prohibition on certain operations in the aviation sector.

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