Showdown between YouTube and Russia. We heard from AFP yesterday that the Russian telecommunications gendarme Roskomnadzor threatened to stop accepting Google on Russian soil if it lifted the suspension of RT (Russia Today) YouTube media channels in Germany.
It all started with a YouTube post on RT DE’s main channel (for RT Germany). The platform suspended the channel for a week, believing that the latter had not adhered to its disinformation policy around Covid-19. Obviously RT Germany was accused of leaking “False Information” on Covid-19.
Bypass the ban
The story could have ended there if RT Germany did not have its second YouTube channel to continue as a user and publish its content, reserved for its main channel. Google found that RT DE “Tried to evade law enforcement by using a different channel and as a result both channels were closed under YouTube’s terms of service”a YouTube spokesperson told Deutsche Welle.
In the process, RT DE editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan posted a series of tweets responding to this ban on the platform. You confirm that this is a cancellation “Without the possibility of going back”.
A direct representative of Russia has defined one “Media War” declared by Germany to Russia”† He then called on his country to ban some German media in Russia, as well as YouTube.
The reaction of the German media
On the German side, government spokesman Steffen Seibert tried to calm the tone by stating that Germany has nothing to do with suspending RT channels. The Russian Foreign Ministry is not on the same page, believing that Berlin has “Encouraged” the sanction against RT and declares to RadioFreeEurope:
Given the nature of the incident, which is fully in line with the logic of the information war unleashed against Russia, taking symmetrical retaliatory measures against the German media in Russia seems not only timely, but also necessary.
Google Kremlin Relationship
Even between Google itself and Russia there is bad blood. The Day The YouTube Suspension Threat Was Launched, a Russian court fined Google 6.5 million rubles (77,157 euros) for not removing the honorable content “Forbidden” of the Russian state.
Moreover, on September 19, just before the parliamentary elections in the country, Google and Apple succumbed to pressure from Moscow for content that famous Kremlin adversary Alexei Navalny. †