Russia has asked Alphabet Inc’s Google to stop publishing what it described as threats against Russian citizens on its YouTube video-sharing platform, a move that could herald a complete ban of the service on Russian soil.
Roskomnadzor said the ads on the platform called for the suspension of communication systems for railway networks in Russia and Belarus, and that their publication was evidence of the US company’s anti-Russian stance.
She added: “The actions of the YouTube administration are of a terrorist nature and threaten the life and health of Russian citizens.” We categorically oppose such advertising campaigns and demand that Google stop broadcasting anti-Russian videos as soon as possible.
The dispute is the latest in a series between Moscow and foreign technology companies over Ukraine. YouTube, which has banned state-funded Russian channels globally, is under intense pressure from telecom regulators and politicians in Russia.
Moscow has banned Instagram because Meta has allowed users in Ukraine to post messages such as death to Russian invaders. It also earlier banned Facebook due to what it said were restrictions by the platform against Russian channels.
Russian channels quoted an unnamed source as saying that YouTube may be banned next week. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wrote a sharp criticism of foreign social media companies.
He referred by name to both Meta and YouTube. But he hinted at leaving open the door to their possible return to the Russian market.
Russia asks YouTube to stop spreading threats against Russians
Medvedev said Russia has the tools and expertise to develop its own social media. He added: The one-way game of Western companies that control the flow of information cannot continue.
“These companies must demonstrate their independence and good attitude towards Russia and its citizens in order to return,” he wrote.
VKontakte, Russia’s response to Facebook, has set records for activity across its platform since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.
The site attracted 300,000 new users in the two weeks after Russia launched what it calls a special disarmament operation.
VKontakte said its daily domestic audience grew by 8.7 percent to more than 50 million people on the day Instagram was banned in Russia.
Anton Gorelkin, a member of the Russian State Duma Committee on Information and Communications, directed the Russians to services that would help them transfer videos from YouTube to the local alternative, RuTube.
He said YouTube could face the same fate as Instagram if it continues to act as a weapon in the information war.
Meanwhile, Russian tech entrepreneurs said they are launching the photo-sharing app Rossgram in the local market to help fill the void left by Instagram.
In November, Gazprom Media launched Yappy as a local competitor to video-sharing platform TikTok.