Ukraine-Russia crisis: How are the tech giants using their power?

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After Russia has declared war on Ukraine, things have been escalating even after big nations have forced sanctions on the country. The United States of America even claims to cut off Russia from world tech if it doesn’t stop this war. Recently, Mykhailo Fedorov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine took over Twitter to unite many social giants in this war to support Ukraine.

The minister believes that in today’s world, modern technology is the best way to respond to missiles, rockets and tanks. He tweeted social media and tech giants, like Google, Netflix, Meta, etc. requesting them to either block Russian accounts or stop their activity in the country. This article will cover the efforts taken by social media giants to show their support towards Ukraine.

The Minister’s letter to Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO

Mr. Fedorov shared a letter addressed to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook on Twitter. In the letter, he has appealed to the CEO to stop the supply of Apple’s products and services in Russia and also ban access to the App Store to Russian citizens in order to protect this world of democracy. To this, the CEO has not announced any clear actions that the giant will take against Russia.

Later, Tim Cook tweeted, “I am deeply concerned with the situation in Ukraine. We’re doing all we can for our teams there and will be supporting local humanitarian efforts. I am thinking of the people who are right now in harm’s way and joining all those calling for peace.”

Facebook bans running advertisments and monetizing from their platform

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Meta on the other hand has taken several efforts to give the message loud and clear that the company is not in favor of the actions done by Russia. On February 26th, 2022, Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy announced that it will prohibit Russian state media to monetize from their platform and run advertisements on it, anywhere in the world.

Facebook has also introduced a ‘lock profile’ feature that will allow Ukrananians to lock their profiles so people who are not on their friend list cannot download or share their profile and also, the posts on their timeline will be invisible to them.

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Along with this, Meta, owner of Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram has denied the request of Russia to stop the fact-checking of local news outlets. This was done to stop the spreading of misinformation but Russia has partially restricted the company’s services in the country. The country feels that it is denying the rights of the citizens of Russia.

Google and YouTube’s response

Similar to Facebook, YouTube and Google have also blocked the Russian media from running advertisements and monetizing on the platform. This includes several Russian channels which were subjected to sanctions.

The Russian media will also not be permitted to buy ads through Google or place advertisements using Google services like Gmail or search. The Google EU team is monitoring the war in Ukraine and if the need persists, they will take further actions.

Google has also disabled its live traffic data on the Maps application in Ukraine. This has been temporarily disabled with a view to protecting the citizens.

Twitter restricted in Russia

Twitter wants to amplify the security and safety of the citizens, for this, the company has stopped advertisements in Russia as well as Ukraine. It will also not display tweet recommendations on timelines, hoping to restrict the spread of misinformation. The company shared some tips to make users’ accounts more secure through its Twitter Safety Account.

We’re aware that Twitter is being restricted for some people in Russia and are working to keep our service safe and accessible.

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Twitter also confirmed that it has been restricted to certain users in Russia. The Public Policy Team of Twitter, tweeted, “We’re aware that Twitter is being restricted for some people in Russia and are working to keep our service safe and accessible.”

Other Tech Giants

Apart from the efforts these platforms are taking, there are many tech companies and other companies from other sectors who are standing in support of Ukraine. Grammarly and Uber are a few of them.

Mr. Fedorov had also reached out to SpaceX owner, Elon Musk, to expand Starlink satellites in the country. Shortly after his request, the CEO responded with a tweet that Starlink has been activated and more satellites are en-routing the country. On Monday, the country received the satellites.

Looking at the current scenario, one can anticipate that this is not going to end here. With more and more companies joining hands against Russia, only time will tell whether these efforts are going to be fruitful or not.

Also Read:  Apple suspends Apple Search Ads service in Russia

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