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Five leading tech companies impose voluntary sanction on Russia

The world’s five leading technology companies – Google, Apple, Facebook (now Meta), Amazon, and Microsoft – have taken steps to impose significant and (mostly) voluntary sanctions on Russia in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, the decisions were not made on the spur of the moment. Ukraine has lobbied major technology companies in the same way that it has lobbied the European Union, NATO, and the US government. Faced with the largest military action in Europe since World War II, Ukraine made a direct appeal to large technology companies as if they were nation states. It serves as a reminder that in today’s world, these behemoths are major geopolitical players.

Impacts of the tech-related sanctions:

Google has stopped selling online advertising across its services in Russia. It has also removed the ability for Russian state media outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik to monetize content on YouTube. RT has been removed from Foxtel in Australia, but it is still available on YouTube with advertisements.

Apple has gone much further than Google. All product sales in Russia have been halted, and Apple Pay and other services have been restricted. It has also removed RT and Sputnik from the Apple App Store in all countries other than Russia.

Meta has blocked access to RT and Sputnik on Facebook and Instagram (which it owns), as well as the ability for state media to monetize content on any of its platforms. It is also degrading Facebook posts that contain links to Russian state-controlled media websites.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced on Twitter that the company is supporting cybersecurity efforts in Ukraine and providing logistical support. However, Amazon has yet to take any steps to reduce the amount of revenue it receives from Russia.

Microsoft has also contributed to cybersecurity. On February 24, it identified a potential Russian cyber attack in Ukraine, assisting efforts to thwart it. Furthermore, it has banned all RT and Sputnik advertisements across its ad network, as well as access to both channels in the European Union.


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