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Alphabet Says Russia Has Blocked Google News

Google parent company Alphabet has confirmed reports that Russia has blocked attempts to access its news aggregator, Google News.

“We’ve confirmed that some people are having difficulty accessing the Google News app and website in Russia and that this is not due to any technical issues on our end,” a Google spokesperson announced.

“We’ve worked hard to keep information services like News accessible to people in Russia for as long as possible.”

Interestingly, Russian internet sensor Roskomnadzor threatened to block Google-owned YouTube last year, claiming it was a conduit of “information attacks” and acts “of a terrorist nature.” YouTube still appears to be available in the country.

Perhaps this block was due to Google’s new ad policy, which will no longer serve ads that “exploit, dismiss or condone the war in Ukraine.”

The company issued a brief statement:

“We can confirm that we’re taking additional steps to clarify, and in some instances expand our monetisation guidelines as they relate to the war in Ukraine. This builds on our current restrictions on Russian state-funded media, as well as our ongoing enforcement against content that incites violence or denies the occurrence of tragic events.”

Google gave an example to Reuters, saying ads could not include “claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens”.



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