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Google Removes Russia’s RT, Sputnik Apps from Play Store

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Google has followed Apple’s lead and removed the apps of Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik from its Play Store in Europe.

Google has blocked apps connected to RT and Sputnik — two Russian state-controlled media outlets —  from its Play Store in Europe, a new Reuters report explains.

It’s the latest in the company’s efforts to rein in Russian disinformation about the Ukraine conflict across its platforms, and comes as the European Commission prepares in the coming days to ban access to the two state-backed channels, which have denied Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Google previously blocked downloads of the RT app within Ukraine.

Banning the two apps brings the company’s European app store policy in line with Google-owned YouTube’s, which announced on Tuesday that it would block RT and Sputnik channels across Europe. Google also said it was banning Russian state-funded media sites from appearing on Google News.

In a statement Google said:

Consistent with the work we’ve described to reduce recommendations, pause monetization, and limit the reach of Russian state-funded media, mobile apps for Russian news channels RT and Sputnik are no longer available on the Play Store across Europe. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.

Tech companies such as Google and Apple are rapidly updating their policies as international coalitions including the US and EU continue to put pressure on Russia.

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