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Russia claims a fire in France broke Google and YouTube. Google says that’s not true.


(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Russia experienced a Google outage on Wednesday, and blamed it on a fire at a data centre in France.
  • Google says that’s false, and that the outage was caused by a local internet service provider.
  • The outage occurred as Russia’s government broke the country’s internet while trying to censor Twitter.
  • See more stories on Business Insider SA’s homepage.

On the same day Russia botched its attempt to censor Twitter, dozens of other websites, including Google and YouTube, went down. Russia is now trying to blame the damage on a fire in another country – a claim Google disputes.

A data centre belonging to French cloud provider OVH caught on fire on Wednesday. At the same time, Russia was experiencing widespread outages meaning people couldn’t get onto Google and YouTube, which Google owns. The state media watchdog, Roskomnadzorm, claimed Wednesday the problems were caused by the fire in France.

Google says that’s not true.

“Following extensive investigation we have no evidence to indicate that the fire in OVHCloud’s data centre, or Google’s own infrastructure, was the root cause of this incident,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to Insider on Friday, adding that the outage lasted a little over two hours.

“We believe the cause of this incident was a misconfiguration of the routers at a local third-party internet service provider,” they said.

The Google outages came on the same day that Russia tried to slow internet traffic to Twitter, claiming the site failed to take down illegal content, but accidentally ended up blocking a bunch of unrelated sites, including the Kremlin’s own website.

Roskomnadzor said on Wednesday that the Google outage was “not connected to the agency’s actions on restriction of speed of access to the Twitter social platform.”

Roskomnadzor was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Insider.

On Tuesday, Russia sued Twitter, Google, Facebook, TikTok, and encrypted messaging app Telegram for failing to delete content relating to protests over the jailing of Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s political opponent.

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