Youtube ban
Google has unexpectedly wiped the channels of three Russian-speaking news outlets from its video service YouTube, explaining the decision to one of them by "terms of use violation."

Google's erasure of alternative media seems to have gone one step further on Wednesday with channels of three media outlets simply disappearing from YouTube. The channels had years of presence on the service and thousands of subscribers. The more popular of their videos counted views in the millions. Now the content is gone from YouTube, and only a warning can be seen that the channels have been terminated for violating the terms of service.

The victims of the purge are channels belonging to News-Front, Anna-News as well as Krym24 (Crimea 24), which all say they were kicked out of YouTube without warning and for no apparent reason.

The focus of News-Front is the conflict in eastern Ukraine, though since its creation over five years ago it has expanded to cover events in Eastern Europe and international news. Anna-News describes itself as a frontline news agency and is famous internationally for its risky reports from eastern Ukraine and Syria. Krym24 is a television channel covering local news.

News-Front called the removal of its channels part of a campaign "to totally block undesired media" motivated by "the West's maniacal fear of truth and any alternative opinion." Anna-News said the wipeout "appeared to be a mass attack on patriotic Russian news agencies."

Krym24 noted that "many Russian TV channels, news portals and bloggers have been suffering recently from such spontaneous decisions of the American giant."

YouTube said that the ban was imposed as the company received a complaint and, following an investigation, detected "violations of terms of use." When Krym24 appealed the measure, it got a response that YouTube's decision will remain unchanged.

While the tech giant went after numerous YouTube channels ran by the three targeted outlets, it apparently wasn't very thorough. The backup channel of Anna-News was still available at the time of writing, somehow avoiding the ban hammer of Google's censors.

US-based tech giants have a long and dubious record of obfuscating or simply silencing media outlets and individuals in acts of seeming political censorship. It's all said to be done for the sake of fighting fake news, conspiracy theories, extremism, or some other boogeyman, but the list of targets suggest the situation is far from being black and white.

In 2018, Facebook briefly banned TeleSur, a TV channel which happened to oppose US attempts to overthrow the Venezuelan government. Last year Twitter denied advertisement opportunities to outlets labeled as "state media" by the likes of US-funded NGO Freedom House. And one recent example is YouTube removing a popular video featuring epidemiologist Dr. Knut M Wittkowski for the apparent sin of being skeptical on how to best tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.