Russia takes steps to punish Google over YouTube ‘fakes’

April 7 (Reuters) – Russia’s communications watchdog said on Thursday it was taking steps to punish Google (GOOGL.O), including a ban on advertising the platform and its information services, for violating Russian law.

The measures will apply to Google Search, the Google Play app store, YouTube, YouTube Music, Google Chat and Gmail.

Roskomnadzor accused Google’s YouTube video-sharing platform, which has shut out Russian state-funded media globally, of becoming “one of the key platforms spreading fakes (fake images) about the course of (Russia’s) special military operation on the territory of Ukraine, discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”.

It said the measures against Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., which include a warning in search engines saying it is violating Russian law, would remain in place until it complied with legislation.

The deputy head of the State Duma parliamentary committee on information policy, Anton Gorelkin, wrote on Telegram that the Russian search engine Yandex (YNDX.O) would add a warning to Google services.

Google spent 243 million roubles ($3.2 million) on advertising in Russia in 2021, excluding VAT, according to a report in the Kommersant newspaper citing the industry publication AdIndex.

Google, which stopped selling online advertising in Russia on March 3, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, Russia demanded that Google stop spreading what it called threats against Russian citizens on YouTube.

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