cover image: ANALYSIS Banning YouTube in Russia - Why the Last Free Social Media


ANALYSIS Banning YouTube in Russia - Why the Last Free Social Media

5 Apr 2024

Democratic policymakers should prepare for a to keep the service running, review sanctions to fa- YouTube ban in Russia, prioritize cooperation cilitate the upkeep of Google’s infrastructure in Rus- with Google, and urge it to devise swift solu- sia, and ensure the optimal functioning of YouTube, tions to hurdles to access set up by the country’s so that Russian users do not have to switch to Rus-. [...] Ambiguities in tarianism, repression, and self-isolation, and judging the Western sanctions that affect maintaining the from previous measures taken to curtail the free flow infrastructure to keep YouTube available in Rus- of information on the web in the country, it is only a sia must be addressed. [...] Depending on how the political situa- have significant implications for Russian internet us- tion evolves, the dissent spread via the platform ers: the disruption of access to a vital source of infor- could become too big of a threat to authorities mation and entertainment as well as the increase of and lead to a ban, especially once the Russian censorship and stifling of political dissent. [...] The company must be urged to find solutions to keep the infrastructure required The looming threat to the access of Russia’s inhabi- for YouTube in Russia functioning and to pro- tants to YouTube means there is an urgent need for vide technical solutions to prevent blocking and Google to prioritize service quality and infrastructure censorship. [...] Google’s goal to remain in the Russian market and the goal of democratic governments of sustaining YouTube as the last bastion of free expression and an invaluable source of informa- tion beyond the control of the state for Russians should be connected.



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