Spotify closes office in Russia in response to attack on Ukraine

The illustration shows the figurines and the Spotify logo showing
The figurines are seen in front of the Spotify logo shown in this illustration taken on February 11, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustration

March 3, 2022

(Reuters) – Spotify on Wednesday said it had closed its office in Russia indefinitely in response to what the audio streaming platform described as Moscow’s “unprovoked attack on Ukraine.”

As of July 2021, Russian legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin has forced foreign social media companies with more than 500,000 daily users to open local offices or subject to severe restrictions. like a total ban.

Before the March deadline, only a handful of companies, including Spotify, complied.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week, which Moscow called a “special operation,” Western governments have urged companies to push back against Putin in any way possible.

“Our top priority over the past week has been the safety of our employees, and to ensure that Spotify continues to serve as an important source of global and regional news at a time when access to information is critical. news is more important than ever,” Spotify said in a statement.

Spotify said it has reviewed thousands of content since the war began and limited the discoverability of programs owned and operated by Russian state-affiliated media.

Earlier this week, it also removed all content from state media RT and Sputnik from Spotify in the European Union, United States and other markets around the world, excluding Russia, following similar steps of Facebook and Twitter of Meta Platforms Inc.

Sputnik on Wednesday said via email that “any restriction on members of the press is blatant censorship and the dirtiest example of a violation of freedom of expression.”

RT said earlier this week that the tech companies that removed it have not raised any issues with its coverage.

Spotify says it will match employee donations, two-for-one, to support local humanitarian efforts.

(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Leslie Adler, Marguerita Choy and Kim Coghill) Spotify closes office in Russia in response to attack on Ukraine

Caroline Bleakley

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