EU to ban Russian state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik

The European Commission said it would also develop new tools to combat disinformation.

Dado Ruvic / reuters

In a decision that could have a significant impact on how companies like YouTube moderate their platforms, the European Union announced it plans to ban Russian state media organizations. On Sunday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Russia Today (RT), Sputnik and their respective subsidiaries would “no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war.” The EU’s executive branch also plans to develop new tools to combat disinformation spread by those organizations. However, von der Leyen didn’t specify what those measures may involve.

At the same time, it’s unclear exactly how the EU will go about banning those organizations. Both RT and Sputnik maintain active YouTube channels. On Saturday, following a similar move from Facebook parent company Meta, the company said it would temporarily prevent a handful of Russian channels, including RT, from earning ad revenue from their content. So far, both YouTube and Meta have only restricted access to Russian state-run outlets in Ukraine, a decision Russia was quick to demand at least one of the companies reverse.