Google has been doing its part to provide bolstered security for its users in Ukraine and its surrounding regions, and by spinning up a donation matching program for relief funds. It’s even gone so far as to shut down Russian-owned media outlets spreading disinformation about Putin’s tyrannical war on innocent Ukrainian people, but today’s news isn’t about how tech companies are stepping up to the plate to help Russians become more informed about what their country is doing abroad, it’s about how Russia is attempting to stop the flow of information and keep its people in the dark. Well, at least that’s how most people will and should see it.
Russia, on the other hand, believes that Google News is helping to promote “numerous publications and materials containing inauthentic and publicly important information about the course of the special military operation on the territory of Ukraine”. This quote comes from a Russian news agency called Interfax via its communications regulator named Roskomnadzor (credit: Reuters) in response to Google itself beginning to realize that many Russian users were having trouble accessing the News app and service.
“We’ve confirmed that some people are having difficulty accessing the Google News app and website in Russia and that this is not due to any technical issues on our end,” Google said in statement.Google to Reuters
Because Russian law makes it illegal to report on events in a way that could discredit its military (or make it look weak), Putin’s defenders have continued to make a point to shut down any and all opposing viewpoints on its actions in Ukraine.
Google states that it’s worked hard to keep information services like News accessible to people in Russia for as long as possible, but it looks as though that time has come to an end until further notice. For those unfamiliar, Google News offers a wide range of sources, publications and takes on what’s occurring in the world and prides itself on letting readers form their own opinions with tools like the “View Full Coverage” button. This pulls together many journalists’ takes, tweets, videos, and more in one place so that it’s harder for misinformation to spread. Well, at least for a more democratic readership, that is.