Tech companies in the US are concerned about the war in Ukraine. The rising alarm and the wider conflict in the region have increased an urgency. Tech giants like Facebook’s Parent Company Meta are in a difficult situation.
As in the propaganda age of the media, it is difficult to distinguish false information from accurate information. So, the propaganda from any side can give rise to a whole new scenario. To tame the situation and to decrease the chances of miscalculations, the US is compelling the tech companies to take decisive action.
Full access to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube would maintain the Russian economy. While blocking them will inflict heavy business damage on the tech companies.
The deterrence from Russia is humongous. To check the situation, the USA and the NATO allies are depending on the economic and technological sanctions. The USA is blocking the Russian banks from the SWIFT and she is enforcing the Meta, YouTube, and other tech giants to limit the access of Russia.
In this article, we will take an overview of what damage media censorship, technology boycott, and limiting access to social media platforms can inflict on Russia. So, with no ado, let’s dive into the topic.
Google blocked Russian channels from monetization
Like all the world, Russians use YouTube, Google, websites, and apps for making money and technological benefits. But the recent onslaught on Ukraine has compelled these tech giants and services to take a shift. The global pressure to take countermeasures against the unprovoked aggression of Russia is rising. Amid the rising tensions between Putin and Biden, the tech giants are finding it difficult to take decisive actions.
However, hoping to restrain the Russian state-owned and state-run channels from making on YouTube. Websites, and apps, Google has limited their ability to make money. It has even blocked the monetization of the ads on the RT channels and many other channels and websites.
From 2018 to 2020, the YouTube influencers in Russia have earned almost 4.1 billion Russian rubles. However, after the fresh blocking of Russian state-run channel RT and many other channels, Russia could no longer garner enormous sums of money. Google spokesperson Michael Aciman has said that we are analyzing the situation closely and are ready to take any countermeasures to limit Russian propaganda.
Besides the RT channels, Google is also blocking and limiting the ability to monetize through the ads of the channels such as RIA Nocost, Russia 24, and TASS. It is surprising to know that Russian channels have earned from $7 million to $32 million from YouTube.
As Google has curtailed the Russian channels, this revenue will decrease and the Russian channels will appear less in the search results and recommendations. These all the countermeasures would tame the aggression of Russia. Still, many obscure things are likely to remain till the end of the conflict.
Meta is limiting the ads revenue of Russian channels
The international temperature of taming Russian aggression is speeding up. Every social media platform is using the power to curtail the Russian influence on global opinion. In such a move, Meta has curtailed and outrightly blocked the Russian state-run channels such as RT and Sputnik from operating on Facebook in the European Union.
Europe had good economic relationships with Russia before the war between Ukraine and Russia started. Since the war has broken out, the relations have become tense. The Nordstream Pipeline II has also been blocked out from Germany and Europe.
These things are spurring the tech giants to take decisive measures as well. On the enforcement of the European Union and other countries, the Sputnik and RT news outlets have lost their media coverage in the whole of Europe. As the Meta is already going down and this recent blockage over the Russian channels can further decrease its share value.
Russia blocked Twitter
On one hand, the US tech companies are busy restricting and limiting the Russian channels and presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, on the other side, Russia itself is involved in limiting the role of these platforms in the country. When Russia sped up the invasion of Kyiv, it outrightly blocked Twitter.
A report from NetBlocks has pointed out that to block the flow of information, Russia is restricting access to Twitter and other social media platforms. Citizens are using Twitter and other social media platforms through VPNs. However, they have immense difficulty with indirect access. Repeatedly this has been also confirmed by the Journalists covering the inch-by-inch developments on the battleground and Twitter itself.
Reasons for blocking and limiting the Russian channels
The entire purpose of economic sanctions on Russia is to limit its strength and resources. On Monday President Joe Biden signed an executive order. This order will limit the trade and impose the severe sanctions Russia has never faced before.
Ukraine is a member of the NATO alliance and, according to the 5th article, an attack on one member is an attack on all members. So, to respond more cautiously, the US and Europe are taking the help of the economic and technological sanctions.
This would cause a massive blow to the Russian economy and Russian currency. Already the rubble is dropping its value quickly. The Russian Stock market is doing poorly and the chances are that there will be near chaos in Russia as well.
US tech companies are in a difficulty
American tech companies have faced a drastic decline in recent weeks. Already China has severe policies for operating any social media platform. Now, the Ukraine and Russia conflict has further sidelined the tech giants to decide what to do. Facebook has faced anti-trust lawsuits and has failed on multiple fronts.
The Meta initiative is still in the nascent stage. YouTube is curtailing the access of the RT and other 26 channels from Russia. This all comes at a heavy price. On Friday the US Senator Mark Warner wrote to Sundar, CEO of Alphabet, “Your platforms continue to be key vectors for malign actors — including, notably, those affiliated with the Russian government — to not only spread disinformation but to profit from it.”
To minimize and cut these speculations, the tech giants have curtailed their profits. They just want to fulfill the demands of the Federal government.
Russia and Ukraine are at war. Some countries are supporting Putin while others are commiserating the lives lost on Ukraine and Russian sides. While the tech giants are fighting along with the war. Already accused of spreading misinformation and increasing extremism, social media outlets are facing pressure. To decrease the pressure from the law agencies, Meta, YouTube, and other tech giants are blocking Russian-backed channels, apps, and websites.
However, social media outlets are busy blocking and restricting Russian-backed channels. While Russia is also busy blocking them. It is an endless war, and the results are unlikely to be auspicious.