Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine since the end of February and until now, no less than 70,000 YouTube videos on the conflict in Ukraine have been removed by Google for violations of the posting rules. The good news is that the accuracy of the remaining information has been greatly improved, making it easier for users of the platform to discover content distributed from verified, trusted sources.
These are bans for violating some basic rules, with YouTube creators being banned from denying or mocking extremely serious events, such as Russia’s war against Ukraine. The administrators of the platform did not go into too much detail about the actions taken, but we find out that about 9000 YouTube channels have been closed, including one attributed to the pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Solovyov. The list of violations that led to the deletion of the videos and the forced closure of the associated YouTube channels also included the use of typical expressions for the Russian propaganda narrative, such as “liberation mission”.
“We have a strict policy on major violent events, and this applies to things like denying violent events: everything from the Holocaust to Sandy Hook. And, of course, what is happening in Ukraine is a major violent event, “said Neal Mohan, YouTube product manager.
As a result of the measures taken, YouTube has seen a significant increase in the number of users in Ukraine, Poland and Russia who view content from verified sources on the subject of war. In Ukraine, for example, news of the invasion generated more than 40 million views. “The first and probably most important responsibility is to make sure that people who are looking for information about this event can get high quality content on YouTube, provided by credible sources.”
For example, even in Russia, YouTube has over 90 million users, being both the largest video sharing platform in the country, but also a major source of information for Russians who want to go beyond the censorship wall raised by the Kremlin.
According to Google, actions against state-sponsored propaganda networks, such as RT and Sputnik, had a major impact on the ability of pro-Kremlin propaganda to spread.