Google Yanks Russia Today From Premium YouTube Program

Employees of the state-owned English-language Russia Today (RT) television network are silhouetted against the backdrop as they wait for the arrival of Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the RT new studio complex in Moscow, on June 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/ YURI KOCHETKOV (Photo credit should read YURI KOCHETKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Photographer: Yuri Kochetkov/AFP via Getty

Alphabet Inc.’s Google recently removed Russia Today from a package of premium YouTube video inventory that the company sells to advertisers, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The decision comes amid a Congressional investigation into the ways Russian actors used digital platforms to influence the U.S. election. Google has been called to testify to both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, along with Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.

YouTube is a focus of the inquiries, and Congressional investigators have eyed the role of Russia Today, or RT, and other networks that U.S. intelligence agencies have identified as close to the Russian government.

Previously, Google had packed the channel -- which has more than two million subscribers on YouTube -- as part of its premium inventory of popular channels for marketers, called Google Preferred. The Google spokeswoman said that after a recent update the channel was removed.

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