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Moscow fights big tech for the control over the narratives

Another debate raged online and over the airways as Russian missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities.

Moscow increased its efforts to influence the narrative in news media and on internet platforms, while Facebook-owned Meta Platforms Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google imposed limitations on Russia’s state-controlled media outlets in Ukraine and elsewhere.

On Friday, Russia announced that it would impose some restrictions on Facebook, citing a refusal by the company to comply with a government order to suspend independent fact-checking by various Russian official media sources, according to Meta. By Saturday, Twitter had also announced that some Russian users will be unable to use the service.

According to users, images and videos on Facebook were slower to load after the slowdown was announced, and Facebook Messenger had significant intervals of not loading at all. Twitter remains slow on mobile devices, despite the fact that it has been subjected to a penalty slowdown since March. Many government websites, including the Kremlin’s kremlin.ru, have been down in recent days.

The standoff is the latest development in a long-running spat with Russia, in which platforms risk government-imposed limitations in the country as the government strives to stifle dissidents while safeguarding state-run media.

From Facebook to TikTok and Twitch, major social, video, and livestreaming platforms are facing increased pressure to address misinformation about the conflict on their platforms, including the circulation of deceptive material.


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