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In the wake of ongoing Ukraine invasion by Russia, YouTube has announced its decision to stop running advertisements on its channels from Russian state-backed media and certain other accounts included in sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo said in a statement, “we will continue to monitor new developments and may take further actions." The video giant, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has said it will restrict access to state-funded RT, formerly known as Russia Today, and “a number of other channels" in Ukraine, YouTube said in its statement. Additionally, it will also limit the ways its system recommends those videos to viewers. 

YouTube is huge in Russia, where several media networks and people tied to the Kremlin use the platform. RT bills itself as the biggest TV network on YouTube. Suspending ads pauses the channels’ ability to monetize. 

Google and the video platform have faced criticism for hosting and running ads on these channels. Russian courts levied fines against Google after the company blocked a YouTube channel affiliated with the Kremlin.

The European Union announced new punishments for Moscow on Sunday for its invasion of Ukraine, including a ban on state-owned Russian media companies Sputnik and RT.

Meta Platforms Inc., which owns social networks Facebook and Instagram, said last week it will fact-check and label posts from Russian state-owned media organizations. The Russian government said it would partially limit Facebook in the country as a result. The company also identified a number of Ukrainian public figures whose accounts were compromised by Ghostwriter, a known threat actor with a history of spreading Kremlin-friendly propaganda.

Meta has seen an uptick in targeting of Ukrainian users with disinformation and attempts to hijack accounts over the past few days as the nation grapples with an invasion by Russian military forces. With the conflict taking center stage in global news, Meta has “amplified" its cybersecurity team with a special operations center and is “taking rapid and proactive steps to change the situation on-platform and make things safer," Nathaniel Gleicher, its head of security policy, said on a conference call.

(With inputs from agencies)

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