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You can add Google News to the growing list of services censored by Russia

Russia continues to censor media services that are not state-owned, after Alphabet this week confirmed that access to Google News is being restricted in the country.

It is yet another platform that is being stifled in the region as Russia continues unabated in its invasion of the Ukraine.

“We’ve confirmed that some people are having difficulty accessing the Google News app and website in Russia and that this is not due to any technical issues on our end,” an Alphabet spokesperson has told TechCrunch.

The publication adds that its unnamed sources in the region have noted that access is all but blocked in Russia, although Alphabet did not use the same phrasing.

“We’ve worked hard to keep information services like News accessible to people in Russia for as long as possible,” the spokesperson added.

Whether other Google-owned services will suffer the same fate remains to be seen, but it is clear that the Russian government wants to ensure that the only media that is consumed in the region comes from state-owned outlets, potentially fuelling the spread of misinformation and propaganda.

For now, platforms like YouTube are unaffected, but it would not surprise us if a full on blackout of internet services from big tech firms happens in the coming weeks.

As such, we should continue to see a rise in the use of VPNs in the region, as Russian citizens look to circumvent the blocks placed on the internet by the Kremlin.

For now, citizens only have services like Yandex (the Russian equivalent of Google) to turn to for news, but given that the Kremlin has executive powers on how the company operates, there are increasingly less and less avenues to turn to gain access to objective information regarding this ongoing crisis.

 

 

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