RT app ban: How Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others are responding – Fast Company

Amid a global outcry over Russia’s war on Ukraine, major tech companies have started taking action against RT, the global news outlet backed by Russia, along with the state-owned outlet Sputnik.

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The RT News app is widely available on phones, tablets, smart TVs, and streaming devices. It pitches itself as providing perspective that viewers won’t get from mainstream media but does not always clearly disclose its ties to Russia. (Per RT’s iOS App Store listing: “The channel is government-funded but shapes its editorial policy free from political and commercial influence.”) Critics have decried the service as a source of misinformation.

Several tech companies have now responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by banning or limiting access to the RT app. Here’s a list of which companies have—and haven’t—taken action against the channel:

Companies that have restricted access to RT

  • Microsoft has removed RT from its Windows app store globally. The company is also de-ranking RT and Sputnik in Bing and will not show ads from Russian state-sponsored media, Reuters reports.
  • Roku will bar RT on its streaming device in Europe, as first reported by CNN. As of this writing, the app is also stuck on a loading screen in the United States. The company did not comment on the latter issue.
  • Google has blocked RT’s Android app in Ukrainian territory at the request of the government there, Reuters reports, though the app remains available elsewhere. It has also blocked the YouTube channels for RT and Sputnik in Europe, and has barred RT from earning ad revenue on YouTube.
  • Meta (Facebook’s parent company) has blocked users from accessing RT and Sputnik content in Europe and barred the outlets from earning ad revenue on its platforms.
  • TikTok has also blocked users from accessing RT and Sputnik content in Europe.
  • After this story was published, DirecTV confirmed to Axios that it is immediately dropping RT America from its channel lineup.
  • Apple pulled the RT and Sputnik apps from the App Store on Tuesday afternoon, while also pausing sales of its products in Russia.

Companies that have not

  • Amazon still offers the RT app on Fire TV streaming devices and smart TVs. The company has not yet responded to a request for comment.
  • RT does not have a large presence on cable and streaming services, but remains available on Dish Network and Dish’s Sling TV streaming service. A Dish spokesperson told CNN that it is “closely monitoring the situation.”

This story has been updated with responses from Apple and DirecTV. We’ll continue to update this story with any further responses.

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