As per the analysis of Washington Post, traffic to state media websites has plummeted on YouTube and Facebook as a result of the companies’ actions.
When Russia invaded Ukraine, in the first few days viewership of more than a dozen Russian state-backed propaganda channels on YouTube skyrocketed to exceptionally high levels. Only a few weeks later, it had dropped to zero after YouTube obstructed those channels worldwide, assisting in the derailment of one of the largest and most powerful propaganda methods. The similar spike was seen on two dozen Russian government-backed media channels on Facebook before the company imposed a ban in Europe.
It seemed like the traffic on YouTube and Facebook started to immensely increase on February 22, just two days before the invasion. Russian news outlets like as RT and Sputnik, began to spread fake reports stating that Ukrainians had assaulted Russians or detailing a “genocide” against Russians.
It is evident that YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok are the major platforms that can use their algorithms to influence such type of information that millions of people consume even about a sensitive topic like global war.
Facebook and YouTube both has declined to go further than its previous pronouncements, which alluded to its choices to take action against state media in Europe as a result of, “exceptional nature of the current situation.”
Since February 28, RT Online, an Arabic-language Facebook page, has seen a 161.2 percent surge in engagements. Fadi Quran, campaigns director for Avaaz, a human rights group says that,
Outside of what is happening on the ground, there is a global conversation taking place about how the world positions itself toward this war. When Russian propaganda can continue to spread, it can skew the conversation in ways that are not conducive to finding a resolution to this conflict.
They also mentioned that a Spanish-language video of Putin lamenting that Russia’s concerns over NATO expansion were “ignored” which had more than 30,000 interactions on Facebook after it was released by RT Play en Espanol. This occurred during the time when it was blocked in Europe but visible abroad.
An Arabic-language video was also posted on Facebook featured a person claiming to be a Russian defense official claiming that American biological facilities in Ukraine had examined coronavirus samples in bats. The video had 99,000 views.