Google yanks two Kremlin-backing news channels from YouTube across Europe

Rt Youtube Screenshot
Rt Youtube Screenshot (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Google Europe has announced that it has blocked access to two Russian news channels on YouTube.
  • RT and Sputnik are now no longer available on YouTube.
  • The ban covers European countries.

Google has announced the blocking of two YouTube channels belonging to news organizations heavily linked to the Kremlin, the company has announced.

The move, which was announced via Twitter and only applies to European countries, means that neither RT nor Sputnik now has an official YouTube presence in the continent. Searching for the channels in the UK does show them and their channel logo, but clicking through gives you an error suggesting that the channel cannot be viewed in your country.

Google made the announcement by saying that it "might take time for our systems to fully ramp up," although tests in the UK showed the two channels disappear almost immediately.

Google Europe's statement reads:

Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we're blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately. It'll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.

The move comes as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine and media companies around the world wrestle with disinformation. Both RT and Sputnik are said to have close ties to President Putin and the Kremlin and it's thought that neither are impartial. Rather, the two channels are thought to spread disinformation and propaganda for Moscow.

There is currently no suggestion that the two channels could return to the YouTube platform or whether they could be blocked on other continents in the future.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.