On December 21, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya appealed to Google to put a stop to the abuse of its YouTube services, which were routinely used by Belarusian security agencies to show and advertise videos showing forced confessions of political prisoners. The Coordination Council and the families of Belarusian political prisoners drew public attention to the fact that obtaining testimonies under duress is qualified as torture by the UN Convention Against Torture. Tsikhanovskaya called for measures to be taken to stop the demonstration of such videos.
Google’s Vice President Karan Bhatia responded to the appeal stating that the flagged ads were removed. He writes, “We have restricted these ad accounts from serving any more ads, and will implement automated rules to proactively flag any new ads that get created and include the violative landing pages and / or violative videos”. The executive also welcomed further feedback and invited Tsikhanovskaya’s team to discuss the enforcement practices at a meeting.