State-controlled Russian media outlets RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik have been blocked from the Google Play mobile app store in Europe after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Google confirmed that these outlets will be blocked in European Union (EU) members states and the UK, Ukraine, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The block follows Apple blocking these outlets in its App Stores outside of Russia yesterday and means that RT and Sputnik are no longer available in the European app stores that account for the majority of mobile app downloads in these countries.
This is the latest of several actions Google has taken to block and restrict RT and Sputnik. Google’s other actions include blocking access to RT and Sputnik’s YouTube channels and videos in Europe, demonetizing the channels of RT and other Russian state-affiliated channels, and removing RT and other Russian state-affiliated media from its news features worldwide.
Other tech platforms have implemented similar blocks and restrictions with Facebook blocking RT and Sputnik pages in the EU, Microsoft banning, suppressing, and demonetizing RT and Sputnik content on some of its platforms, and Telegram blocking the RT France channel.
Twitter is one of the only Big Tech platforms that hasn’t blocked Russian state-affiliated media outlets but it is currently reducing their reach and plans to block them when the EU’s ban on these outlets comes into force.
As US platforms have blocked state-controlled Russian media outlets, the Russian government has responded by restricting its citizens’ access to these platforms in Russia.