Russia: Japan's tech co. Rakuten removes ads from messaging service in Ukraine & Russia, but will not block service in Russia
"Japan's Rakuten removes ads from Viber app in Russia and Ukraine, won't block service" 28 February 2022
Japan’s Rakuten Group said it is removing advertising from its Viber messaging service in Ukraine and Russia in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but said it won’t block the service in Russia as requested by Kyiv.
The move is to “ensure that no-one will profit from activity on our app at this time” Rakuten said in a statement dated Sunday, adding that it has made “Viber Out” calls to landlines and mobile phones in 34 countries free for users in the region.
Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov asked Rakuten to block Viber service in Russia in a letter posted on Twitter, along with similar requests to companies such as Facebook-owner Meta Platforms.
“Blocking our service in Russia or any other country will harm the people of Ukraine by preventing free, private and secure communication,” Rakuten said in the statement [...].
Viber, which launched in 2010 and was acquired by e-commerce firm Rakuten in 2014, is entrenched in the region with 97% of Ukrainian smartphone owners using the app.