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Weekly Update - March 5, 2022: Google Ads in Russia, Space Managers, Insta Captions

New this week: Google suspended ad serving in Russia, affecting web publishers and YouTube Partners;  Google Chat will be adding a new Space Manager role (plus Space descriptions and guidelines), Instagram is adding automated captions to feed videos in 17 languages and more.

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War in Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has generated a rapid response from tech companies big and small. Here is an overview of changes affecting creators. Note that this is changing daily, so there may be more changes by the time you read this.

Russia has blocked access to Facebook (but not Instagram), Twitter, and reportedly YouTube (although I’m having trouble getting confirmation of that).

And history repeats. Rick Klau was the Product Manager for Blogger in 2009 and recounts a mind-boggling story of how Russia tried to take down Blogger, YouTube, Facebook and LiveJournal with a massive denial of service attack. Why? Because they wanted to shut up a refugee from Russia’s invasion of Georgia going by “Cyxymu”.


Google has suspended all advertising in Russia. This includes AdSense, AdMob, AdManager ads on websites, and advertising on YouTube. Viewers in Russia will not see ads. Russian YouTube Partners can continue to monetize, as ads will show outside of Russia, and they can earn from Super Chats, Merch and similar revenue streams.

Meta is pausing Facebook ads targeting people in Russia, and advertisers within Russia cannot create or run ads anywhere.

Reddit is not accepting advertisements that target Russia or originate from a “Russia-based entity”.

Twitter has stopped showing ads in Ukraine and Russia “to ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don’t detract from it.”


Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and other platforms have either removed or demoted content from Russian state-controlled media. But there are also updates that affect regular users as well.

Facebook is demoting posts with links to Russian state-controlled media websites (like RT and Sputnik), and will label the links to provide more information. Meta plans similar measures on Instagram, but has not implemented them yet.

Reddit is prohibiting links to Russian state-controlled media like RT and Sputnik. They have also “quarantined” the r/Russia subreddit due to a high volume of shared misinformation.

Twitter has not announced that they have changed their content moderation. But they have compiled a list of reliable news sources on Ukraine you can follow.

YouTube has not announced any new policies. But the current misinformation policy prohibits manipulated or misattributed content that may pose a serious risk of egregious harm.


Google has automatically increased account security protections, such as authentication challenges, for people in the region.

Google has also made Project Shield, which protects against DDoS attacks, available to more Ukrainian websites.

There are new security measures for Facebook and Instagram accounts in Ukraine and Russia: the ability to easily lock one’s profile; removed the ability to view and search friends lists; and privacy and security reminders.

What I’m Watching

I’ve been watching the live sea otter cam and the live moon jelly cam from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The sea otters are playful even at night. And the jellyfish are graceful and soothing to watch. It’s a peaceful break. 

Top Updates

Google Chat announced a new Manager role for Spaces - Space Managers! The Space creator can promote any Space member to Manager. Managers will be able to add or remove participants, and add or edit a description and posting guidelines for the Space.This will take a few weeks to roll out. Read the announcement. I’ll have more details as these features become available.

Instagram is launching automatic captions on feed videos, available in 17 languages. This is enabled for default.

YouTube and Video

YouTube is launching notices to users posting comments to encourage more respectful interactions on desktop. This is already in place in the YouTube mobile app.

Creator Insider has tips and best practices for managing spam comments on your YouTube channel.

TikTok is rolling out the ability to upload videos up to 10 minutes long. Why the change, when TikTok’s success is all about short videos? Monetization is the likely answer.

Social Media

Epic Games acquired Bandcamp. What does a game company (creators of Fortnite and others) want with an indie music community and marketplace? It’s unclear. Bandcamp says they will continue to operate independently, but Epic will help them build new features and expand internationally.

Twitter is expanding the visibility of its Birdwatch pilot, which allows users to add context to Tweets they believe are misleading. Some users in the US will now see Birdwatch notes on some Tweets. The notes only appear if they have been rated helpful by enough people from different points of view


Spammers are always creative. A newish form of spam is to post comments on a Google Docs document that mentions your email address. Google will be including the email address of the commenter in the comment notification email, so you can better judge if it is spam or a phishing attempt.

You can now embed Google Forms charts in Google Slides, Google Docs and Google Drawings.


Major browser vendors Apple, Bocoup, Google, Igalia, Microsoft, and Mozilla are working together to improve browser interoperability (making sure that browsers work the same way). Interop 2022 focuses on 15 features that web developers identified as serious pain points.

Casey Newton explained The Internet is a Force Multiplier for Ukraine  

That’s all the updates for this week. Subscribe to get the Weekly Update in your email inbox or favorite feed reader every week. Miss last week’s update? Get it here.

Image: Embroidery thread by bluemorphos on Pixabay. Pixabay License. Free for commercial use, no attribution required.


  1. I just won't use TikTok because of it's connections with China.


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