Google suspends all ad sales in Russia as censorship demands rise, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

Google suspends all ad sales in Russia as censorship demands rise

By Paresh Dave

Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Thursday it had stopped selling online advertising in Russia, a ban that covers search, YouTube and outside publishing partners.

The move by the world’s largest online ad seller by revenue follows similar pauses in Russia by Twitter Inc and Snap Inc following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Given the extraordinary circumstances, we are suspending Google ads in Russia,” the company said in a statement. “The situation is evolving rapidly and we will continue to share updates as appropriate.”

Google previously banned Russian state-funded media from buying or selling ads through its technology. It had also invoked its policy on sensitive events, which prohibits marketing that seeks to profit from war, with the exception of protest or anti-war advertisements.

Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor on Monday ordered Google to stop running ads containing inaccurate information about casualties to Russian forces and Ukrainian civilians.

On Thursday, the regulator asked Google to stop running YouTube ads containing “false political information” about Ukraine that aimed to “misinform the Russian public” about current events, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In the past, Moscow has imposed fines or restricted access to services that ignore its demands.

Last year, Google paid over 32 million rubles in fines for content infringement.

The SPARK business database showed last year that Google’s revenue in Russia in 2020 was 85.5 billion rubles.