MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Google company, which is a part of the Alphabet Inc., removed the RT broadcaster from Google Preferred, the package of premium YouTube video inventory, sold by the company to advertisers, according to media reports.
The decision was made amid the US Congress’ investigation into the influence of Russian-based digital platforms on the 2016 US presidential election, the Bloomberg news agency reported citing a Google spokeswoman.
The investigation reportedly focused on the YouTube video hosting service as it is actively used by digital platforms such as RT, which, according to the US Congress, are close to the Russian government.
"RT as well as our partners in Google Russia do not have any information about any removal of RT channels from the Google Preferred program. We are jointly checking this information issued by Bloomberg," Karnovich-Valua said.
In September, the US Department of Justice asked a contractor of the RT in the United States to register under Foreign Agents Registration Act, while in June, US congressmen introduced a Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act bill. The latter would provide the Justice Department with increased investigative authority to identify and prosecute entities that allegedly seek to unlawfully influence the US political process.
On Sunday, RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said that in the worst case scenario the broadcaster may cease its activities in the United States due to the increasing pressure from the country's authorities. Later in the day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow may take retaliatory measures if Washington continues to put pressure on the Russian media working in the United States.