Google, Microsoft Suspend Sales In Russia

Google has stopped selling online advertising in Russia. The ban includes search, YouTube and display advertising.

“In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we’re pausing Google ads in Russia,” Google wrote in a statement to Search & Performance Marketing Daily. “The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when appropriate.”

The move follows the company's ban on all Russian state-funded media from buying or selling ads through its technology. It also had invoked its Sensitive Events policy, which bars marketing that seeks to take advantage of ads related to the conflict, with an exception for protest or anti-war ads.

Roskomnadzor, Russia's communications regulator, earlier in the week ordered Google to stop serving ads that contained inaccurate information about casualties sustained by Russian forces and Ukrainian civilians.

The state communications regulator told Reuters it sent a letter to Google demanding the offensive materials be removed and said it would block internet resources that publish such information.

The regulator then on Thursday told Google to stop serving YouTube ads with “false political information” about Ukraine that aimed "to misinform the Russian audience” about current events, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Twitter and Snap also stopped serving ads in the country, according to Reuters.

Microsoft also said on Friday it would suspend all new sales of its products and services in Russia, but did not specifically call out advertising.

“Like the rest of the world, we are horrified, angered and saddened by the images and news coming from the war in Ukraine and condemn this unjustified, unprovoked and unlawful invasion by Russia,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post.

The company also said it is working with the U.S., European Union and U.K. governments, to stay in compliance with governmental sanction decisions.

“We continue to work proactively to help cybersecurity officials in Ukraine defend against Russian attacks, including most recently a cyberattack against a major Ukrainian broadcaster,” Smith wrote.

He said that the company is committed to the safety of its employees in Ukraine and remain in constant contact with them to offer support, including those who have needed to flee for their lives or safety.

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