Big Tech’s problem in Russia – Vox

On Friday morning, as Russia continues Unprovoked attacks on UkraineIts government also launched an attack on Facebook, notification that it will begin “partially restricting” access to the social network in Russia, which has an estimated 70 million users, as Facebook is accused of restricting pro-Russian news sites. At the end of that day, Facebook push back, writes that “Russian authorities have ordered us to stop independent fact-checking and content labeling” and that the company will continue to support ordinary Russians “using our app me to express myself and organize action.” On Saturday morning, Twitter also confirm that its application is limited for some people in Russia.

Now, Facebook and Twitter are in a predicament that’s become increasingly common for social media networks in certain countries: They’re facing demands from an authoritarian government to pressure force them to censor content they don’t like and allow propaganda to go unchecked. . If they disobey the Kremlin’s orders, they risk being completely disconnected from the local internet. In some cases, opting out could put some of their local employees at risk – previously, Russian government threatens to arrest tech workers are based in the country in dispute with their employer. These situations threaten to disrupt the way people communicate around the world.

There is no simple solution to such an impasse. For people living under these governments, losing access to major social media platforms could cut off the main way they communicate and oppose their government and its propaganda. . In Russia, for example, residents who opposed the invasion of Ukraine used Facebook, Twitter, and other major social media platforms to distribute news of attacks and coordinate actions and protests. antiwar.

“I think we are headed towards the inevitable disruption of the global internet,” said Emerson Brooking, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who studies social media.

Social media in the 2000s was developed under the vision of a shared, open and global internetwhich requires major tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to largely follow the political speech rules of any country in which they operate. by order of the government.

Last September, Apple and Google removed a voting app created by supporters of Aleksei A. Navalny, the jailed Russian opposition leader, after the Russian government reported it. Threaten to arrest employees of tech giants if companies put the app in their store.

“In any case, it’s a tacit negotiation between companies and an authoritarian government,” Brooking told Recode.

But sometimes that tacit negotiation can break down, like it did last March when the Kremlin deliberately slows down Twitter in Russia after warning social media platforms to remove pro-Navalny content following his arrest. We are seeing these incidents happen more often.

A truly open global internet has never existed in China, where all US social media companies are officially banned by law. “Great Firewall” control what citizens can access online. It no longer exists entirely in India, where Twitter and Facebook have taken down content at the request of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, beginning censor dissent with increasing vigor during the pandemic. And now, it may not be around much longer in Russia, at a pivotal moment in global history.

What happens next in Russia could further disrupt the open internet.

Why Russia’s restrictions on social media could hold back the anti-war movement

Some politicians and experts who speak online say it is important for mainstream social media platforms to try to continue operating in Russia, while censoring blatant misinformation and limiting propaganda system launched by Russian state media. That’s because social media platforms are giving Russians who disagree with the Kremlin a way to express their voice, and they’re giving Russians a way to get information that organizations don’t agree with. Russia’s state media will not share.

Widely circulating tweets show Russian protesters anti-war chants this week in Moscow. A famous rapper in St.Petersburg canceled his concert and posted an anti-war message with over 2 million followers on his Instagram as of Thursday. And some of the children of high-ranking Russian state officials and financiers moved to Instagram to voice their opposition to the invasion.

“It is always a trade-off to make sure that Russians who want the real story – or at least the one as we see it – still have access” to social media platforms, said Vice Chairman of the Commission. European Commission Margrethe Vestager told Recode on Friday. “But propaganda should have no place.”

Over the next few days, the Russian government is expected to continue to make false and misleading statements in support of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Twitter, Google and Facebook have all said they are ramping up efforts to remove videos that violate their policies. Twitter has paused its ads and some recommendations in Russia and Ukraine to prevent misinformation from spreading. On Friday, Facebook announced it was banning Russian state media from running ads. And YouTube told Recode that it is assessing whether new economic sanctions against Russia could affect what content is allowed on the platform. The video platform has faced criticized for allowing advertisers to run ads against the Russian-backed state media outlet RT for live-streaming the bombings in Ukraine.

It is unclear whether Russia will escalate the restrictions piecemeal in response to Facebook’s continued refusal to stop censoring Russian media or what exactly it will do with Twitter and YouTube.

Several internet security experts, social network researchers, and activists have advocated for US-based social media companies to cut off their state-owned or state-sponsored media accounts. Russia, as that could undermine the Russian government’s propaganda capabilities.

“During the Cold War, we would never let Pravda Jim Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the United States. “Why are we letting the Russians do this?”

But for all of the reasons mentioned earlier, if tech companies further restrict Russian state media and official government accounts, that could be at risk from the government. Russia retaliated further.

All of this underlines the social revolution as an important battleground for the global powers. No wonder the Kremlin – the place that has proven itself proficient in meddling in American politics used social media disinformation campaigns during the 2016 election – again trying to manipulate online public conversation in its favor. Big Tech’s problem in Russia – Vox

Fry Electronics Team

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