The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has been condemned by many countries across the globe, and the West has not accepted Russian sovereignty over the Crimean peninsula.
With international organisations such as NATO and UN not taking any military action, the invasion has seen little response other than the imposition of sanctions and the evacuation of foreign nationals from the besieged nation of Ukraine.
In this scenario, the Big Tech companies across the world (but especially from the US) have taken steps to comply with the sanctions imposed and not take a neutral stance to the conflict. Apple has done this, and Ford, Harley-Davidson, Netflix, Nike, and Alphabet’s Google as well.
Google has taken several steps, the latest of which is removing state-funded publishers such as Russian Today (RT) from its news-related features, including the Google News search tool.
The company confirmed the same.
This also comes after Google Europe started to block YouTube channels associated with RT and Sputnik across Europe Both RT and Sputnik are pro-Kremlin media outlets.
In a blog post, Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, informed that the situation was an “both a tragedy and a humanitarian disaster in the making.”
In response, the company was taking “extraordinary measures” in order to combat and stop the spread of misinformation and disrupt disinformation campaigns online. Both misinformation and disinformation thrive and spread swiftly during a crisis, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us.
News companies which are funded by the Russian government have also been restricted by Google from advertising tools and some features on YouTube.
Unsurprisingly, this development was not received well by RT. In a statement on Tuesday, RT Deputy Editor-in-Chief Anna Belkina said that there was “not a single grain of evidence that what RT has reported over these days, and continues to report, is not true.”
Subsequently, the technology companies (such as Google and Apple) that have curbed the distribution of RT have not pointed out the same evidence.
Apart from this, Google and its employees are also donating $15 million in donations and in-kind support to aid relief efforts in Ukraine. This includes $5 million so far from its employee matching campaign and $5 million in direct grants.
It is also contributing $5 million in advertising credits to help trusted humanitarian and intergovernmental organizations connect people to important sources of aid and resettlement information.