Music streaming giant Spotify has become the latest company to take significant steps against Russia, closing its Russia-based office on Wednesday and removing Russian state-sponsored content from its service.
“We have closed our office in Russia until further notice,” the company announced in a statement, due to Russia’s “unprovoked attack against Ukraine.”
Spotify added that it had examined “thousands of podcast episodes since the start of the war,” and limited the ability of Spotify users to locate podcasts owned or operated by outlets with links to the Russian regime. Content from RT and Sputnik, two leading media outlets that closely follow the Russian government’s line, was already removed from Spotify earlier this week.
Spotify added that it would remain available to Russian users: “We believe that it is of utmost importance that our service is available in Russia to allow a global flow of information.”
Many other media entities have already taken similar steps against Russia. Also on Wednesday, Meta (Facebook) announced that it would be restricting access to Russian state-controlled media in Europe, including RT and Sputnik, following “requests from a number of governments and the EU.”
Meta added that content from Russia state-controlled media would be demoted on Facebook and Instagram, and that links from those outlets would be labeled in order to give “context” to people who do access them. Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta’s head of security policy, also announced that Facebook would allow Ukrainian users to lock their social media profiles for added security.
Citing a need to combat disinformation, Facebook is removing fake accounts operated from both Russia and Ukraine which were allegedly promoting pro-Russian content.
Twitter began taking steps against Russian content on Tuesday, announcing that it would be labeling all websites affiliated with the Russian government and reducing the circulation of their content. According to Yoel Roth, head of site integrity at Twitter, over 45,000 tweets a day share links to Russian state-affiliated media outlets. These will now be stamped with “Stay Informed” labels.
Over at Google, its Google Maps service is no longer showing live traffic data in Ukraine out of concern that it could be used by Russia to identify troop movements. Google Pay has stopped working in Russia, and YouTube has announced that it will begin blocking channels that have links to Russia state-backed media outlets across Europe, due to their “spread of disinformation.” Google’s Alphabet has begun blocking mobile apps connected to Russia RT and Sputnik media from its Play store.
Apple is no longer selling its products in Russia and has removed RT’s and Sputnik’s apps from its App Store outside Russia. Following in Google’s footsteps it has disabled traffic incidents on its Apple Maps in Ukraine.