Tech giants move to curb the reach of Russia’s state-linked news outlets

Mar 1, 2022: According to a report by AFP, tech firms Facebook, TikTok and Microsoft moved Monday to curb the reach of Russian state-linked news outlets, which stand accused of pushing misinformation about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Facebook’s parent Meta said it would restrict access to RT and Sputnik in the European Union, which Western countries have accused of being the Kremlin’s mouthpiece and a platform for war. Announcing the decision, Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs for the social media giant, cited the “extraordinary nature of the current situation” but did not elaborate.

Just hours ago, Twitter said it would issue warnings on tweets sharing media links of Russian state affiliated news outlets.

Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity,  said “Our product should make it easy to understand who’s behind the content you see, and what their motivations and intentions are.” Roth said the platform was also “taking steps to significantly reduce the circulation of this content on Twitter.”

Video sharing app TikTok has restricted Russian state-owned media access on its platform in the EU, while Microsoft said it was removing RT from its app store and would change its search engine Bing’s algorithm to shift RT and Sputnik content to lower in results.

However since Apple and Google did not respond immediately to inquiries about whether they would follow a similar course it is as yet unclear what their move will be.

RT and Sputnik are news outlets are directed at non-Russian speakers, with RT offering a global network of English, Spanish, French, Arabic, German as well as Russian language content publishing channels, websites and social media accounts.

Meta’s cybersecurity team – which is also the parent of Instagram – said it had blocked a set of fake Russian-linked accounts that were part of a social media scheme aimed at weakening Ukraine.

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