Apple said it has paused all product sales in Russia while Alphabet’s Google has removed Russian state-funded publishers such as RT from its news-related features, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence,” Apple said in a statement on Wednesday (Australian time).
“We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region.”
The company outlined several actions in response to the invasion, including stopping all exports into its sales channels in Russia.
Apple Pay and other services have been limited, the company said. The Russian state media, RT News and Sputnik News, are no longer available for download from the Apple Store outside Russia.
On Tuesday (local time), users in Russia were still able to access Apple’s online store but attempts to buy an iPhone showed that they were not available for delivery.
Google also confirmed it had removed Russian state-funded publishers from its news-related features, including the Google News search tool.
Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, said in a blog post that “in this extraordinary crisis we are taking extraordinary measures to stop the spread of misinformation and disrupt disinformation campaigns online.”
Google already had restricted news companies funded by the Russian government from advertising tools and some features on YouTube.
RT deputy editor-in-chief Anna Belkina said in a statement that technology companies that had cut her outlet’s distribution had not pointed to “a single grain of evidence that what RT has reported over these days, and continues to report, is not true”.
“This collective ‘establishment’ seems to be terrified of a mere presence of any outside voice for the fear of losing their historically captive audience, if that audience encounters a different perspective,” the statement said.