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Russia Blocks SoundCloud Over ‘False’ Content About Its Ukraine Invasion

A government watchdog says some information being streamed on SoundCloud distorts the "essence" of its invasion.

The Russian government has blocked access to SoundCloud over what it terms as “false information” being distributed on the platform regarding the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The news was first reported by the Interfax news agency, citing an announcement from Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor. The watchdog said it was restricting public access to SoundCloud on the orders of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office.  

Roskomnadzor said the streaming service was being blocked “following the publication of materials containing false information about the essence of the special military operation in Ukraine.”

Although no details were provided about what those materials were, Roskomnadzor said they contained false information about attacks on civilian populations and infrastructure, as well as “numerous” civilian deaths “at the hands of Russian soldiers,” reports Interfax.

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The communications watchdog tells the news agency that it had twice requested SoundCloud to remove the “prohibited information” but the platform failed to do so. If those materials are removed, access to the service “will be unblocked,” Roskomnadzor said.

SoundCloud has not responded to Billboard‘s requests to comment following the Prosecutor General’s orders to restrict access to the platform. Sources on the ground in Russia tell Billboard that the blocking measures currently only impact the SoundCloud website, while the mobile app version is still accessible. 

The Berlin headquartered company is the latest digital platform to be blocked in Russia following the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24. Other platforms and websites that have been banned or seen access to their services disrupted include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google News, BBC News and Amnesty International.

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When it comes to music streaming, music fans in Russia face a similarly limited choice of options. Spotify, Deezer, TikTok and Amazon Music all suspended operations in the increasingly isolated nation in March. The same month saw all three major record labels – Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group – stop trading in what was previously the world’s 13th-largest music market.

Apple Music is still accessible to Russian music fans, although Billboard understands that it stopped uploading new releases and updates to its service shortly after the war started. YouTube suspended all payment-based services in the country in March but also continues to operate in Russia, making it one of the few media outlets where Russians can access independent news reports about the invasion of Ukraine not controlled by the Kremlin.

Last month, Sony became the first major record company to fully exit the country by transferring its Russian company and roster to a separate local independent label. Universal and Warner — which, prior to the war, had the biggest presence in Russia with around 100 employees — continue to provide financial support to their Russia-based staff and maintain offices there, but say they have frozen all investments, promotional activities, manufacturing and new releases.

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Since the mass exodus of international music companies, Russian streaming services Yandex. Plus, VK Music and Zvuk have cemented their position as the dominant music platforms in Russia.