Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, YouTube has taken down more than 70,000 videos related to the conflict so far. reported Sunday. The company said The Guardian it removed numerous videos for violating its Major Violent Events Policy, which prohibits content creators from denying or trivializing events like the invasion.
YouTube did not break the enforcement order, but noted that it suspended about 9,000 channels in the sweep, including one linked to pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Soloviev. Some of the videos removed by YouTube violated company guidelines by calling the invasion a “liberation mission”.
“We have a major violent events policy and that applies to things like denial of major violent events: everything from the Holocaust to Sandy Hook. And of course what is happening in Ukraine is a major violent event,” said Neal Mohan, chief product officer of YouTube. The Guardian. “And so we used that policy to take unprecedented action.”
Partly as a result of its actions, YouTube has seen a significant increase in the number of people in Ukraine, Poland and Russia consuming “authoritative” content about the conflict. In Ukraine, for example, news about the invasion generated more than 40 million views. “The first and probably most important responsibility is to ensure that people looking for information about this event can get accurate, high-quality and credible information on YouTube,” Mohan said. The Guardian.
The move underscores the critical role that services like YouTube play in preventing misinformation from spreading online. In Russia alone, YouTube has over 90 million users, making it the largest video-sharing platform in the country. The company’s actions against state-sponsored networks have had a dramatic impact on these organizations’ ability to spread the Kremlin’s message.