Google Reviews in Russia Bombarded by Pro-Ukraine Activists

( On Monday, pro-Ukraine users began a campaign of leaving messages to the Russian people on Google review pages for Russian establishments, especially those located in Moscow.

The comments included calls for Russians to rise up against President Vladimir Putin. They also provided information the users claimed was being suppressed by Russian state censorship, including Ukraine’s claims of Russian casualty numbers.

Many of the Google review posts included photos purportedly depicting war-ravaged Ukraine, as well as images of dead bodies the users claimed were Russian soldiers.

One of the top-rated restaurants targeted for messages was dumpling café Lepim I Varim in Moscow. In a message to the people of Russia, one user wrote “your fascist dictator is lying to you.” The user called Putin’s invasion “unprovoked” and accused Russia of killing civilians and bombing residential areas. The “review” closed by calling on the Russian people to “stand up to your dictator.”

Many of the “reviews” included the message that the Russian government has been lying to the Russian people. Descriptions of the death and destruction in Ukraine were another common theme, as were messages calling on the Russian people to rise up against the Kremlin.

Big Tech companies, meanwhile, have been taking action to limit information coming out of Russia.

Reddit this week quarantined the subreddit accounts r/Russia and r/RussiaPolitics.

On Monday, Facebook said it had disabled around 40 fake accounts, groups, and pages geared toward Ukrainians that promoted fake articles about the war.

Facebook also confirmed on Monday it has restricted the Russian state media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik within the European Union after receiving requests from several governments along with the EU.

Google announced on Monday that it was blocking the YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik throughout Europe “effective immediately.” It also blocked RT and Sputnik apps from its Play Store in Europe.

On Tuesday, Apple announced that it too would block RT and Sputnik from its App Store. But rather than blocking the apps only in Europe as Google did, Apple blocked RT and Sputnik in every territory except Russia.

Ukraine had asked Facebook to block Russians from using the platform entirely. But Meta, Facebook’s parent company, rejected the request.

Meanwhile, Russia demanded that Facebook stop fact-checking and labeling content from four state-owned media outlets. Facebook refused. So Moscow announced that it was restricting access to Facebook.