YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have announced blocking ads run by state-backed Russian media outlets on their platforms following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the West prepared for a new set of sanctions against Moscow.The head of security policy at Meta, formerly Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher said the social network was "prohibiting Russian state media from running ads or monetizing on our platform anywhere in the world."
1/ We are now prohibiting Russian state media from running ads or monetizing on our platform anywhere in the world. We also continue to apply labels to additional Russian state media. These changes have already begun rolling out and will continue into the weekend.
— Nathaniel Gleicher (@ngleicher) February 26, 2022
Meta also rolled out a one-click tool for people in Ukraine that would let them lock their profiles, so only friends can see their posts, photos and stories.Twitter has shut down all advertising in both Russia and Ukraine "to ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don't detract from it".
We’re temporarily pausing advertisements in Ukraine and Russia to ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don’t detract from it.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 25, 2022
The platform is also monitoring tweets to check for manipulation and will take "enforcement action" against them. Twitter said it was monitoring the accounts of journalists, government officials, activists and high-profile accounts to prevent takeovers or manipulation.
In a statement shared with The Verge, Twitter spokesperson Katie Rosborough said the platform would "continue to monitor the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and our focus remains to protect the safety and integrity of the conversation on Twitter".
“As part of this work, we have temporarily halted advertisements in Ukraine and Russia to keep the focus on people receiving critical information. We remain vigilant and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Rosborough said.
Alphabet-owned YouTube has blocked advertising on channels run by state-backed Russian media outlets. In a statement shared with Reuters news agency, YouTube cited "extraordinary circumstances" and said that it was "pausing a number of channels’ ability to monetize on YouTube".
Russian media outlets would also not be able to buy any ad space through Google's tools or place ads on other Google services like Search and Gmail. Google Spokesman Michael Aciman said they were "actively monitoring new developments and will take further steps if necessary".
Russian forces have attacked oil and gas facilities in Ukraine, sparking huge explosions, Reuters news agency reported officials as saying on February 27, even as Western countries prepared new sanctions, including banishing key Russian banks from the main global payments system.
Ukrainian forces were holding off Russian troops advancing on the capital, Kyiv, said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two entered its fourth day.
Russian missiles found their mark, including a strike that set an oil terminal ablaze in Vasylkiv, southwest of Kyiv, the town's mayor said. Blasts sent huge flames and billowing black smoke into the night sky, online posts showed, a Reuters report said.
There were also reports of heavy fighting near Ukraine's second city, Kharkiv, in the northeast, where Russian troops blew up a natural gas pipeline, a Ukrainian state agency said.