YouTube has stopped content creators in Russia from being able to make money with most ads that appear on their videos. But there’s one important caveat: YouTube creators in Russia can still theoretically make money when anyone outside of Russia watches ads on their videos.
YouTube and its sister company Google (both owned by Alphabet), first suspended all advertising in Russia last week after the Russian government asked the tech giant to stop allowing any ads in the country related to the invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb 24. But YouTube went a step further on Thursday, stopping Russian creators from making any money off of a large percentage of their audiences.
“We’ve recently paused all Google and YouTube ads in Russia. As a follow-up, we’re now extending this pause to all our monetization features, including YouTube Premium, Channel Memberships, Super Chat, and Merchandise, for viewers in Russia,” a spokesperson for YouTube told Gizmodo by email early Thursday.
“This means that Russian creators won’t be able to monetize content from viewers in Russia, but can still make money from ads and other monetization products shown to users in countries outside of Russia,” the spokesperson continued.
YouTube is far from the first company to pause operations in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Everyone from McDonald’s to Ikea has halted operations and the Russian government is exploring ways to seize the assets of foreign companies that leave the market.
Sony also announced late Wednesday it would stop selling game consoles in Russia and the Playstation Store will no longer be available to gamers in the country.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a humanitarian disaster of Vladimir Putin’s making, with over 2.3 million refugees fleeing Ukraine since Feb. 24, according to the United Nations. Roughly 1.4 million of those refugees are now in Poland, which has been tremendously welcoming to the women and children trying to find safety. The men of Ukraine are still in the country by law, fighting against the Russian invasion. And it’s not clear when the fighting might stop.
The Russian military hit a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine on Wednesday, injuring at least 17 people and killing three, including a child, according to the BBC.
Will the mass exodus of western companies from Russia make Putin stop his campaign to conquer Ukraine? That seems unlikely. But it’s really anyone’s guess at this point what Putin is thinking. Many people doubted Putin would invade Ukraine at all, despite warnings from the U.S. intelligence community. But it all seemed to obvious from the start. You don’t line up 100,000 troops at the border to have them all go camping. Some things are too big to hide, especially with all those eyes in the sky.