YouTube Deplatforms RT Deutsch for COVID Disinformation
YouTube has deleted the channels of the Russian state broadcaster RT DE in Germany, for disinformation about Covid-19.
The YouTube channels of the Russian state broadcaster RT Deutsch are no longer available in Germany. According to RT DE, they were deleted because of violations of the guidelines for false medical information on the video platform. An archived version of RT DE’s YouTube homepage shows that the state broadcaster had around 600,000 subscribers there at the end of August.
The deletion is also a hard blow for the Russian state broadcaster, as RT DE has integrated its own video contributions via YouTube on its website.
So far, RT has been distributing content in German on other social media and its website, apart from YouTube. The German subsidiary RT DE Productions GmbH plans to launch new formats in December. A studio was set up in Berlin-Adlershof for daily news broadcasts, talk shows and other formats, and more than 200 jobs were advertised. But an application for a broadcasting license in Luxembourg failed. According to the responsible media authority in Berlin-Brandenburg, the broadcaster did not submit an application in Germany.
During the pandemic, RT DE published controversial takes about the virus and the vaccines. Data analyses have shown that such content from RT DE is often shared in milieus of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists.
In the 2019 report on the protection of the Constitution, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany ascribed RT Deutsch and the Sputnik news agency particular importance to the aim of the Russian leadership to “influence political and public opinion in Germany in the interests of Russian politics”.