Earlier this week, Russia threatened to ban YouTube as the popular video sharing platform removed the Russian state backed broadcaster RT’s German language channels from its website. This urged the Kremlin to call for ‘zero tolerance’ towards the online platform.
According to a Reuters report, the online video streaming platform, owned by Alphabet Inc, has deleted the state backed broadcaster RT’s channels on Tuesday. YouTube stated that the channel was removed from its website as it breached its COVID-19 misinformation policy. Furthermore, the company also added that it would block all anti vaccine content from its platform as well. This marks its expansion outside of just Coronavirus, and includes content that alleges vaccines cause chronic health effects or other form of misinformation regarding the vaccines.
On the other hand, Russia stated that it was considering retaliating against German media and also accused YouTube of “unprecedented information aggression” over the deletion of the RT channels. This also marks the spark of new friction between the Russian government and a tech giant. Russian state communications regulator Roskomnadzor stated that it has written to Google and demanded that YouTube should lift the restrictions on RT channels.
If the company fails to comply, then the government could partially or fully restrict access to YouTube in the region. As of right now, Google has declined to comment on the matter. Additionally, the government could also impose other measures to ensure YouTube complies with its laws, as per Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. He further added that “There should certainly be zero tolerance for this kind of breaking of the law.”
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