It’s an unprecedented action.
YouTube Taking Down Videos and Channels
YouTube is popular in Russia. Unlike other social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, this video-sharing platform has not been shut down even though it hosts channels and shows videos of opposition figures.
It continues to operate in Kremlin even though it has cracked down pro-Russia content. YouTube also took down content that prohibits denying the invasion.
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia started in February. Since then, YouTube has removed channels, including the pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Solovyov. It also suspended the channels connected to Russia’s Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs because they uploaded videos that described the war as a liberation mission.
Because of this decision, the platform saw an increase in the number of people in Poland, Russia, and Ukraine watching authoritative content on the conflict.
News content about the invasion generated over 40 million views in Ukraine. The goal of removing those channels and content was to make sure people, who come to YouTube, would get accurate, high-quality information.
Critical Role of YouTube
YouTube has a critical role in stopping misinformation from spreading online. The platform has over 90 million users in Russia. With that in mind, it makes it the largest video-sharing platform in Kremlin.
Even though it has 90 million users in Russia, Youtube stopped advertising on the platform in Kremlin. The decision met protests from various groups stating that well-targeted ads could actually counteract Kremlin propaganda.
As mentioned, the platform is still up in Russia. It has remained an important platform for citizens in that country as the war continues to evolve.
However, the platform is still not doing enough to stop the spread of falsehoods. Fact-checking organizations accused YouTube of enabling its platform to be used by bad actors to manipulate others. They want YouTube to prevent its algorithms from promoting videos that tackle false information.
Disinformation can cause harm. But misinformation is the sharing of false information without the intention to harm people.
YouTube failed to tackle both issues in the global south, like Asia, Africa, and Latin America. According to the platform’s community guidelines, misleading or deceptive content with a risk of harm are not permissible on YouTube.
In 2020, YouTube took action to stop Covid misinformation. It has also arrested misinformation about COVID vaccinations after Facebook took similar action.
With the ongoing war in Ukraine, YouTube can play a huge part in preventing false information from being shared online. When it banned RT, Sputnik, and other Russia-sponsored networks, it had a significant impact on the ability of the organizations to spread Putin’s message.
Russia continues to invade Ukraine. Moscow intensifies its attack and Ukraine has not agreed to a ceasefire deal involving handing its territory to Russia. Kremlin stated that it was willing to resume peace talks and it has not refused talks.
According to the Ukrainian president, 100 Ukrainians are dying each day on the easter front.