For the first time in the age of social media, a war is raging in Europe. It places a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The political pressure to intervene strongly is growing rapidly.
Companies find the approach to disinformation in particular complicated, which is something they have struggled with for years. Because of the war in Ukraine, Russian state media are now often pointed to, which spread President Putin’s propaganda. They have millions of viewers and followers on Facebook and YouTube.
The measures taken by the American tech giants have so far been limited to the interventions that they have as standard. But those are not enough, according to Vera Jourova, vice president of the European Commission. An echo of the message from the European Union and the US, which have announced tough financial sanctions against Moscow.
Banned from platforms
The Financial Times writes that the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have jointly sent a letter to Meta, Google, YouTube and Twitter asking them to do something about Russian propaganda. The call comes on top of pressure from the EU. For example, European Commissioner Thierry Breton some photos on twitter last nightr. He and colleague Jourova had an online conversation with the CEOs of Google and YouTube.
His message to them: Russian war propaganda warrants a similar response from online platforms as the storming of the US Capitol. That prompted Twitter, Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) and YouTube to ban then-President Trump from their platforms.
A source told the Financial Times that in yesterday’s conversation, Breton asked Google and YouTube, among other things, to consider banning channels from their platforms. He is presumably referring to channels of Russian state media. Tonight, the tech companies must report on the steps they are taking.
One of the photos shows the dejected faces of Sundar Pichai (CEO Google, bottom left) and Susan Wojcicki (CEO YouTube, top right):