Russian internet regulator Roskomnadzor announced on Tuesday that it would be fining Google for failing to get rid of prohibited content on YouTube, alleging the video platform participated in the “information war against Russia.”
Roskomnadzor alleged in a Telegram post that YouTube was encouraging the circulation of false information about the Russia invasion in Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation,” and allowed for content from far-right Ukrainian groups to remain on the platform.
“The American platform frankly promotes the dissemination of false content containing unreliable socially significant information about the course of a special military operation in Ukraine that discredits the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as well as extremist information calling for violent actions against Russian military personnel, materials of extremist organizations, such as ‘Right Sector’, the nationalist regiment ‘Azov’ and others,” Roskomnadzor said.
The Washington Post noted that news videos about the war and the two groups showed up the most after conducting searches on both. The Hill has reached out to Google for comment.
The development comes as Russia continues its crackdown on freedom of speech and journalism within the country, including blocking residents’ access to Facebook and Twitter.
Several news outlets earlier this month announced they would be halting operations in Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation that could sentence people to up to 15 years in prison if they are found to be circulating “fake news” about the Russian military.
The Russian invasion, now in its second month, has failed to seize Kyiv. The Pentagon said on Tuesday that Russia was “repositioning” its troops and was not drawing them down in two cities like it had claimed.
“We ought not be fooling – and nobody should be fooling ourselves by the Kremlin’s now recent claim that it will suddenly reduce military attacks near Kyiv or any reports that it’s going to withdraw all of its forces,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said.
“We believe this is a repositioning, not a real withdrawal, and that we all should be prepared to watch for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine. It does not mean the threat to Kyiv is over,” Kirby noted.