Netflix and TikTok suspend and limit services in Russia over Ukraine war

The streaming platform said it made its decision because of the 'circumstances on the ground'

Netflix has announced that it will not carry future projects from Russia or broadcast Russian state television channels. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Live updates: follow the latest news on Russia-Ukraine

Netflix and TikTok have announced they will suspend and limit their services in Russia to protest against the war in Ukraine.

Netflix announced this week that it was stopping future projects from Russia, including a contemporary adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy classic Anna Karenina as well as Zato, a noir detective drama series. It also announced that it will not carry Russian state television channels, which it was mandated to do under Russian law.

“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” a Netflix spokesperson said on Sunday.

Netflix has a new and relatively small presence in Russia. It launched the service in 2016 and reportedly had less than one million subscribers in the country, a speck of its 222 million subscribers worldwide.

Social media platforms have also limited their services in Russia, following a new law that threatens jail time of up to 15 years for spreading “fake news”.

TikTok announced on Sunday it was suspending new uploads and live-streaming in the country until the company determines the safety implications of the new law. Russia also blocked Facebook access in response to the platform’s limitations on state-owned news channels, including RT, formerly Russia Today.

Global media outlets including the BBC, Bloomberg CNN, CBS News and the Canadian Broadcasting Company have also temporarily halted reporting in Russia in light of the new “fake news” law.

The Ukrainian Film Academy has urged a boycott of Russian cinema, whereas the Cannes Film Festival said it would not welcome Russian delegations in May unless the invasion ends with terms satisfactory to Ukraine.

Several bands and musicians also announced their boycott of Russia.

US Rock band Green Day, British singer Louis Tomlinson and US pop-rock group Imagine Dragons also called off concerts in the country as President Vladimir Putin showed no signs of stopping his attack on Ukraine.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the annual Eurovision Song Contest, has banned Russia from participating in the competition.

Hollywood is also making a statement, with studios Disney, Warner Bros and Sony Pictures Entertainment pausing theatrical releases of coming films in Russia.

Disney said last week that it is not releasing any new films in the country, starting with the Pixar film Turning Red, which features the voices of Sandra Oh and Netflix star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan among others.

Within hours, Warner Bros said it would suspend this week's release of The Batman, one of the year's most anticipated films.

Meanwhile, a Sony Pictures Entertainment representative said: "We will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming release of Morbius."

Updated: March 08, 2022, 5:16 AM