Russian internet regulator Roskomnadzor has accused Google’s YouTube of “spreading threats against citizens of the Russian Federation” in a statement released Friday.
"Earlier it became known that YouTube video hosting users are broadcasting commercials with calls to disable the railway communications of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus,” the statement added. “The actions of the YouTube administration are of a terrorist nature and threaten the life and health of Russian citizens.”
Roskomnadzor did not identify the users broadcasting the alleged threats.
While the statement did not mention blocking YouTube in Russia, an unnamed official told Russian state media outlet Sputnik that YouTube could be blocked “by the end of next week,” or as early as Friday.
If YouTube is blocked, it will be the latest salvo in a battle between Russia and American tech platforms following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Google officials did not provide Reuters with a comment on the latest developments.
The Russian government has already blocked or limited access to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The country has a Facebook alternative, VKontakte, and domestic photo and video sharing sites are reportedly in the works.
American big tech firms have also taken measures to block or limit access to Russian state media on their platforms. For example, YouTube, which is owned Google’s parent company Alphabet, blocked YouTube channels operated by RT and Sputnik.
Some information in this report comes from Reuters.