TECH GIANTS told to take a stand against Russia

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The prime ministers of Poland and the Baltics have demanded executives in charge of Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter “take a stand” against Russian disinformation.

This is contained in a letter dated 27 February, and addressed to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“Although the online platforms have undertaken significant efforts to address the Russian government’s unprecedented assault on truth, they have not done enough,” the letter said.

Russian disinformation has been “tolerated on online platforms for years; they are now an accessory to the criminal war of aggression the Russian government is conducting against Ukraine and the free world.”

The prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland presented a list of proposals to the companies, including taking down accounts run by the Russian and Belarusian governments, state-controlled media and personal accounts of these countries’ leaders and associates.

Tech companies are facing increasing pressure to combat disinformation from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. The EU has been especially bullish, with the European Commission announcing it would ban Russia Today and Sputnik from broadcasting in the union.

Internal market commissioner Thierry Breton urged the CEOs of Google and YouTube on Sunday night to do more to counter state-sponsored disinformation that has been amplified by tech companies’ algorithms and recommended on their sites.

The prime ministers of Poland and the Baltics are pushing companies to go further by restricting access to more channels including ​​RTR Rossija and Rossija 24, and by suspending accounts controlled by the Russian and Belarusian governments.

“The online platform providers and tech companies need to take a stand as authoritarian regimes seek to weaponise the openness of our societies to undermine peace and democracy,” the letter said.

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