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YouTube blocks RT and other Russian channels from generating ad revenue

The move follows similar ones from Meta and Twitter.
Vehicles of Russian state-controlled broadcaster Russia Today (RT) are seen near the Red Square in central Moscow, Russia June 15, 2018. Picture taken June 15, 2018.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Gleb Garanich / reuters
Igor Bonifacic
Igor Bonifacic|@igorbonifacic|February 26, 2022 4:46 PM

YouTube has temporarily barred Russia Today (RT) and a handful of other Russian channels from earning ad revenue. Citing “extraordinary circumstances” and the recent sanctions against the country, the company told Reuters it was putting a pause on the ability of several channels to monetize their content on the platform.

Additionally, YouTube said videos from those content creators would appear less frequently in user recommendations, and that RT and a handful of other channels would no longer be accessible in Ukraine following a request from the country’s government. YouTube did not provide Reuters with a full list of the restricted channels. We’ve reached out to the company for comment and more information.

It’s hard to say how much of an effect the restrictions will have on those channels. In 2019, internet research firm Omelas estimated the Kremlin generated $27 million in ad revenue between 2017 and 2018. Over the span of a 12 year period, Russia has earned as much as $73 million in YouTube ad revenue from RT and other state-affiliated channels. 

The move follows similar ones from Facebook and Twitter. On Friday, Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta’s head of security policy, said the company was prohibiting Russian state media from running ads or using any other monetization features in response to the invasion of Ukraine. That same day, Twitter said it was suspending all advertising in Ukraine and Russia to better highlight authoritative information and combat misinformation.

YouTube blocks RT and other Russian channels from generating ad revenue