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Big Tech Cracks Down On Russian Propaganda

Damir Mujezinovic - Author

Mar. 1 2022, Published 1:33 p.m. ET

Virtually all major western countries have imposed devastating sanctions on President Vladimir Putin's regime amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As the battle for Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities continues, governments around the world -- especially those in Europe -- are calling on technological giants to restrict the flow of disinformation from the Kremlin.

In response to these developments, tech giants have begun cracking down on Russian propaganda.

Read more below.

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Facebook Bans Russian Media

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According to a new report from CNN, Facebook -- or rather, its parent company, Meta -- announced this week that it is blocking access to Russian news outlets Russia Today and Sputnik across the European Union.

Nick Clegg, Meta's Vice President of Global Affairs, said the ban was issued after receiving "requests from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media."

Meta's Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher, meanwhile, said that the company had already blocked Russian state media content in Ukraine.

Twitter Adds Labels

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Twitter has not issued a full ban on Russian state media content yet, but it said that any tweet with a link to a Russia-affiliated news organization will be labeled with a warning that the post "links to a Russia state-affiliated media website."

Additionally, Twitter plans to "reduce the visibility and amplification of this content site-wide, no matter who it comes from."

Both Ukrainian and foreign reporters and journalists have relied on Twitter to share and receive information about the Russian invasion.

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YouTube Imposes Restrictions

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YouTube has not gone as far as Twitter and Facebook, but it has nonetheless imposed certain restrictions.

After blocking Russian state media within Ukraine over the weekend, the platform said it would be "significantly limiting recommendations" to Kremlin-affiliated channels.

European Commission leaders held a meeting with the CEOs of Google and YouTube on Sunday, asking for more restrictions, so a harsher crackdown on Russia-affiliated content is expected.

Russia Hits Back

The Russian government has decided to hit back at big tech.

As reported by Reuters on Friday, Russia began restricting access to platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Users based in Russia told the outlet that images and videos were not loading properly on Facebook and that the messenger was not working at all for a while.

At the same time, many encountered bugs when accessing Twitter, reporting that the site is slower than usual.

This fight between the Kremlin and western giants is expected to intensify as Vladimir Putin's regime seeks to promote its own narrative about what's going on in Ukraine.


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