After blocking Russian media outlets, Google on Friday said it paused all ad sales in the country in response to the ongoing Ukraine invasion.
The move comes at a time when online advertising has become a key part of the information war between the Big Tech and Russia which is actively blocking any media that contradicts the official state narrative.
In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we’re pausing Google ads in Russia. The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when it is appropriate, – a Google spokesperson told The Verge.
Google was recently criticized by Russian regulator Roskomnadzor for running ads about the war in Ukraine.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Roskomnadzor said ads on Google’s platforms were targeting Russian viewers and “aimed at creating a distorted perception of current events”. Roskomnadzor said the ads spread “false political information” and could incite protest.
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Google earlier announced $15 million towards relief efforts in Ukraine. The aid includes $5 million from employee matching campaigns and $5 million in direct grants. The remaining $5 million is raised from advertising credits.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine is both a tragedy and a humanitarian disaster in the making,” Kent Walker, President, Global Affairs at Google, wrote in a blog post.
Moreover, to curb the spread of misinformation and disrupt disinformation campaigns online, Google “blocked YouTube channels connected to Russia Today and Sputnik across Europe”.
Earlier Google had indefinitely paused the monetization of Russian state-funded media such as RT across its platforms.