YouTube has removed more than 70,000 videos and 9,000 channels related to the war in Iraq Ukraine For breaching content guidelines, including removing videos that referred to the invasion as an “editing mission.”
The platform is very popular in Russia, where, unlike some of its US counterparts, it has not been shut down despite hosting content from opposition figures like Alexei Navalny. Youtube It was also able to operate in Russia despite cracking down on pro-Kremlin content that violated guidelines including the Major Violent Events Policy, which prohibits denial or downplay of the invasion.
Since the conflict broke out in February, YouTube has suspended channels including that of pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Solovyov. Channels linked to the Russian defense and foreign ministries have also been temporarily suspended from uploading videos in recent months to describe the war as a “liberating mission.”
“We have a Major Violent Events policy and that applies to things like denial of major violent events: everything from the Holocaust to Sandy Hook. And of course what happens,” said Neil Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer. Ukraine It is a major violent event. And so we have used this policy to take unprecedented action.”
In an interview with the Guardian, Mohan added that YouTube news content about the conflict has received more than 40 million views in Ukraine alone.
“The first and perhaps the most important responsibility is to make sure that people who are looking for information about this event can get accurate, high quality and credible information on YouTube,” he said. “The consumption of trusted channels on our platform has grown significantly, of course in Ukraine, but also in the countries surrounding Ukraine, Poland, as well as within Russia itself.”
YouTube did not provide a breakdown of what content and channels were removed, but Mohan said many of them represent the Kremlin’s accounts of the invasion. “I don’t have the exact numbers,” he said, “but you can imagine that a lot of them are accounts coming from the Russian government, or Russian actors on behalf of the Russian government.”
YouTube has an estimated 90 million users in Russia, although advertising is no longer allowed on the platform in the country. The decision by YouTube’s parent company, Google, prompted protests from Navalny, who said well-targeted ads helped counter the Kremlin’s propaganda.
“YouTube remains the largest video-sharing site operated and operated in Russia itself,” Mohan said. “YouTube is a place where Russian citizens can obtain uncensored information about the war, including from many of the same official channels that we can all access outside the country. We remain an important platform for Russian citizens themselves as this crisis continues to develop.” .
Last week, Russia’s Minister of Digital Development, Maksut Shadaev, said the country would not block YouTube, despite disputes over content that led to the platform being fined in court for not removing the banned videos.
Shadev noted that blocking the most popular social media platforms in Russia will affect users. “We are not planning to shut down YouTube,” the minister said. “Above all, when we restrict something, we must clearly understand that our users will not suffer.”
YouTube has also imposed a worldwide ban on channels linked to Russian state media, including Russia Today and Sputnik. Facebook and Instagram are banned in Russia Access to Twitter was restricted, in response to the platforms’ ban on Russian state-owned media.
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