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Russia's Foreign Ministry Says Meta and Google Should Be Held Accountable for 'Inciting War'


Russia’s Foreign Ministry says Meta and Google should be held accountable for “inciting war.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said that there should be a system created to hold western tech giants responsible for the so-called incitement, according to a report from Interfax news agency and Reuters.

State communications regulator Roskomnadzor also demanded that foreign internet services stop discriminating against Russian media in Europe.

The European Union has banned Russian news outlets, including RT and Sputnik, in response to the conflict in Ukraine.

YouTube, which Google owns, and Facebook, owned by Meta, have complied with a request to block access to the outlet’s pages and content across the EU.

Globally, RT and Sputnik have been blocked from earning advertising revenue from their YouTube and Facebook accounts.

Russia also said that the Western big tech giants have also failed to open local offices in violation of their communications laws.

“Russian legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin has obliged foreign social media companies with more than 500,000 daily users to open local offices since July 2021 or be subject to restrictions as severe as outright bans,” Reuters reports. “The new rules also require companies to register with Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor and have a system for fielding user complaints.”

In November, Roskomnadzor issued non-compliance warnings to 13 companies and said restrictions would be enforced for those who do not rectify their violations at the end of February.

Some, including Apple, Viber, and Spotify, have complied.

Google, Meta, Twitter Inc, ByteDance’s TikTok, Zoom Video Communications Inc, and JOYY Inc’s video app Likee have complied with the policies but have not opened local offices, according to the Russian government.

Discord, Amazon.com Inc’s live streaming unit Twitch, messaging app Telegram, and bookmarking service Pinterest Inc. have not taken any steps to comply.

On Monday, the New York Times published an article discussing Big Tech’s role in global conflict, titled “Ukraine War Tests the Power of Tech Giants.”

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has become a defining geopolitical moment for some of the world’s biggest tech companies, as their platforms have turned into major battlefields for a parallel information war, and their data and services have become vital links in the conflict,” the article began.

The report continued, “for many of the companies, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, the war is an opportunity to rehabilitate their reputations after facing questions in recent years over privacy, market dominance and how they spread toxic and divisive content. They have a chance to show they can use their technology for good in a way not seen since the Arab Spring in 2011, when social media connected activists and was cheered as an instrument for democracy.”

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