In response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Google has halted all ad sales in Russia.
It’s difficult to say how much money the corporation will lose as a result of the move, but it demonstrates how, in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the online world has become a secondary battleground between Russia and the West.
Google’s halt comes after Twitter and Snapchat both implemented blanket ad prohibitions in Russia. Google had previously barred Russian state media outlets like Russia Today from using the company’s adtech to monetize their websites and YouTube channels. Smaller restrictions and blocks have been collecting over the last week, forming a digital iron curtain between Russia and the West.
In response to the newest storey, a Google spokeswoman told The Verge that, due to the unusual circumstances, Google ads in Russia are being paused. The situation is rapidly changing, and they will continue to provide updates as needed.
The action comes after Russian communications authority Roskomnadzor chastised Google for airing advertising about the Ukraine conflict. According to The Wall Street Journal, Roskomnadzor stated ads on Google’s platforms were “aimed at establishing a false sense of current events” and were “targeted at Russian viewers.” The advertising, according to Roskomnadzor, promote “false political information” and potentially encourage protests.
Any media that opposes the official state narrative has been actively blocked by the communications watchdog. It recently barred access to BBC News websites, for example, after the UK broadcaster revived WWII-era shortwave radio bulletins to reach Russian and Ukrainian listeners.