Spotify Closes Russia Office, Removes Content From RT, Sputnik

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Swedish music streaming giant Spotify has shut down its office in Russia and removed content from state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik.

Spotify joins several techs and media platforms that have blocked Russian state media outlets over the Ukraine invasion.

The music streaming service said that it would continue to stream in Russia, a market it entered in July 2020, along with Ukraine and 10 other European countries.

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“We think it’s critically important to try to keep our service operational in Russia to allow for the global flow of information,” a Spotify spokesperson told Variety.

The platform, however, is also restricting the discoverability of content from other outlets affiliated with the Russian government.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” the Spotify spokesperson said.

“Our first priority over the past week has been the safety of our employees and to ensure that Spotify continues to serve as an important source of global and regional news at a time when access to information is more important than ever.”

Reports surfaced on Thursday that closing Spotify’s Russian office means that the company will no longer be in compliance with Russian laws and can face restrictions and even a total ban in the country.

Tech platforms including YouTube, Meta (Facebook and Instagram), and Twitter have all blocked RT and Sputnik accounts, with Apple and Google following suit in their respective app stores.

Meta has expanded a ban on Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik on Facebook and Instagram globally to stop the flow of misinformation as Russian forces make deeper inroads into Ukraine.

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