Some of the world’s most popular social media platforms have banned Russian official media sites in Europe, making it impossible for the Kremlin to influence European public opinion over the Ukraine conflict.
In the attack that has been condemned around the world, social media platforms have become a front. They have sometimes false stories but also real-time information about Europe’s biggest geopolitical crisis in decades.
Social media platforms ban Russian media outlets
The European Commission, the Ukrainian government, some US politicians, and even their own workers pressed the social media companies. In reaction to prior steps imposed by the firms to limit the Kremlin’s capacity to distribute misinformation and propaganda about its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has already curtailed social media services.
According to Philstar, after Western nations accused RT and Sputnik of being Kremlin mouthpieces and platforms for war, Facebook’s parent Meta declared it would be banning access in the European Union to these sites. A spokesperson for the social media giant, Nick Clegg, cited the unique nature of the current circumstances in making the announcement but did not provide any other information.
Google Europe stated in a tweet that as a result of the escalating conflict in Ukraine, they have decided to restrict all YouTube channels associated with RT and Sputnik across Europe. Their systems would take some time to get up and running. In order to respond quickly, their personnel monitors the situation 24 hours a day.
A few hours earlier, Twitter said that it would issue warnings to users who tweeted links to Russian state-affiliated media. As per the report, more than 45,000 tweets a day provide links to the publications, according to Twitter’s head of site integrity, Yoel Roth.
RT and Sputnik rely on social media platforms
RT and Sputnik, Russia’s state-run media agencies, have relied on American social networks and Chinese-owned TikTok to build large followings and expand their influence beyond Russia’s borders.
According to the Washington Post, more than 7 million people follow RT on Facebook, but it’s not known how many of those people are in the European Union. There are 4.65 million English subscribers and 5.94 million Spanish subscribers to RT’s YouTube channel.
During Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the companies refused to outright censor content and kept fact-checking individual posts. Russian state-backed media channels spread misinformation, claiming Ukrainian soldiers killed civilians or tried to destroy essential infrastructure in separatist regions or in Russia. However, the pressure on social media platforms to use their position as gatekeepers has grown rapidly.