Google has announced that it will suspend all advertising in Russia in light of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. This applies to ads on Search, YouTube, Display, and the move takes effect immediately. “Given the extraordinary circumstances, we are suspending Google ads in Russia. The situation is changing rapidly and we will continue to share updates as appropriate,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
This is an extraordinary step given that Google depends on advertising for the majority of its revenue across the world. Twitter had already announced a similar decision five days ago. “We are temporarily suspending ads in Ukraine and Russia to ensure critical public safety information is high and ads do not harm them,” the social media company had said. Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat had also announced a similar decision. Twitter will also start tagging tweets from Russian state-affiliated media more prominently on the platform.
Google also invoked its Sensitive Events Policy, which prohibits marketing that seeks to profit from war, with the exception of protest or anti-war ads. YouTube, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, had also announced it would block channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe. These are media affiliated with the Russian state. This decision was made due to the spread of misinformation by Russian state media. YouTube had previously stopped monetizing these channels.
Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor on Monday ordered Google to stop running ads containing inaccurate information about losses to Russian forces and Ukrainian civilians, according to Reuters. On Thursday, the regulator asked Google to stop running YouTube ads containing “false political information” about Ukraine that aimed to “misinform the Russian public” about current events, the Wall Street Journal reported. In the past, Moscow has imposed fines or restricted access to services that ignore its demands. Last year, Google paid over 32 million rubles in fines for content infringement.
Google later announced that it had also blocked mobile apps connected to RT and Sputnik from its Play Store. Meanwhile, Google Pay, which is the company’s payment service, has been a limited service in the country, although Google hasn’t completely blocked it in the country. It also stopped live traffic data in Ukraine. A similar decision was made by Apple due to the safety of residents in Ukraine. Apple also stopped selling its products in Russia.
With entries from Reuters