A year in reverse: How YouTube proved itself in 2022



The American corporation Google's subsidiary, the video hosting site YouTube, has long been an interesting platform for Russian media and bloggers. But now the blocking switch is working like a weapon.

Yes, there have always been difficulties: in 2020, the video hosting site deleted the page of the TV channel "Tsargrad," the reasoning being that its owner, Konstantin Malofeyev, was under U.S. sanctions.

Russian courts were not satisfied with this explanation, and the blocking was found to be illegal. The Russian subsidiary of Google was imposed a penalty in the amount of 100 thousand rubles for each day of non-compliance with the cancellation decision.

By mid-March last year, the company was obliged to pay 1 billion rubles, and in early April "Tsargrad" said that it received these funds from Google.

However, it was not quite a celebration of justice, because by that time YouTube had already started a "night of long knives" against Russian TV channels and bloggers.

Last March, YouTube cut off monetization for Russian users, essentially depriving bloggers of income. They also canceled Premium subscriptions, Music Premium, sponsorships, souvenirs, and more.

The video hosting didn't stop there, and began blocking Russian media channels, closing the pages of "Russia Today", TASS, VGTRK, "First Channel", RBC, REN-TV, NTV, "Moscow 24" and many others. Even the Orthodox TV channel "Spas" came under the radar.

Agree that it looks like an operation of moral and psychological pressure. Or the elimination of a competitor, because channels with the Ukrainian point of view and the well-known rhetoric, to put it mildly, far from the ideals of humanitarianism, not only were not blocked, but with the help of recommendation algorithms were constantly shoved into Russian users. Such an American-style shock therapy.

The video hosting site (or higher) did not stop at the media, and continued the "cleansing," by starting an attack on bloggers: On March 26, the channel of pranksters Vovan and Lexus was blocked. They were complained about by the British Ministry of Defense, whose head had spoken to the pranksters a few days earlier.

Ben Wallace then mentioned that the country was running out of its own arsenal because of supplies to Ukraine. On March 23, the British Defense Ministry asked the administration of the video hosting site to delete the fragments of the conversation because they "threaten the national security of Great Britain. By the way, the minister who told all this to the Pranksters was not punished. And after a while, YouTube blocked the back-up channel of the pranksters as well.

The next candidate for "removal" from the video hosting site was Dmitry Puchkov, a blogger, writer, translator, radio host, and simply a Runet legend, better known to the audience under the pseudonym Goblin. His channel was deleted last August, the blogger said that the reason was a "violation of community rules", and the press service of Google then noted that the blocking was due to a "violation of the policy on hate speech". This policy prohibits content "that denies, downplays or trivializes well-documented violent events." But showing the Russian-speaking audience clips of drones striking Russian soldiers - that's fine, that's okay.

Puchkov said that he had not received any warnings about the blocking, contrary to assertion of the administration of the video hosting site, and in general he took a sober approach to the situation.

He believes that the channel was deleted because of his support for his own country. "So if I'm a citizen of Russia and I have a positive attitude toward my country, it's not acceptable within the framework of American democracy. I have to hate my country and crap all over it. And if I don't do that, then I don't belong on American resources," Puchkov concluded, also noting that he transferred his materials to Russian sites long ago.

After partially finishing with bloggers, the video hosting began to observe the implementation of American sanctions by targeting Russian enterprises: the channels of KAMAZ and "Rostec" State Corporation were "demolished." Next, they took on parliamentarians, destroying the channels of the State Duma and the Federal Council, but parliamentarians had long ago mastered "VKontakte". To emphasize once again the predictability of such companies, let us also remember the blocking of new RT channels.

At the same time, the video hosting refused to comply with court orders, so the Russian subsidiary of Google got into debt, tried to go bankrupt, but failed, and Western top managers said they didn't think they would be working in Russia for that long.

The YouTube case illustrates what Western monopolies lead to, and how quickly a smile turns into a cruel grimace, and the buttons of millionaire bloggers are replaced by blocking switches.