Google suspends all ad sales in Russia as censorship demands grow

2 minute read

The logo for Google LLC is seen at their office in Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S., November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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March 3 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google said on Thursday that it had stopped selling online advertising in Russia, a ban that covers search, YouTube and outside publishing partners.

The move by the world's top seller of online ads by revenue follows similar pauses in Russia by Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Snap Inc (SNAP.N) after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we're pausing Google ads in Russia," the company said in a statement. "The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when appropriate."

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Google earlier had banned Russian state-funded media from buying or selling ads through its technology. It also had invoked its sensitive events policy, which bars marketing that seeks to take advantage of the war, with an exception for protest or anti-war ads.

Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor on Monday ordered Google to stop showing ads that contained inaccurate information about casualties sustained by Russian forces and Ukrainian civilians. read more

On Thursday, the regulator told Google to stop showing YouTube ads with “false political information” about Ukraine that aimed "to misinform the Russian audience” about current events, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Moscow in the past has fined or restricted access to services that ignore its demands.

Google last year paid more than 32 million roubles in fines over content violations.

The SPARK business database showed last year that Google's turnover in Russia in 2020 was 85.5 billion roubles ($790 million).

($1 = 106.01 roubles)

($1 = 107.9990 roubles)

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Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Sandra Maler and Edwina Gibbs

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