The Role of Tech Companies in the Russia – Ukraine Crisis

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The Effect of Russia-Ukraine Crisis on The Tech Industry

While Europe is facing a hike in gas prices, Indonesia is facing a noodle crisis. Now, a military conflict with a noodle crisis and oil price inflation might look like a strange combo but, trust me! Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having an effect in every possible way.


It has been more than a month since Russia invaded Ukraine. This geopolitical tussle turned out to be a decisive moment for the world’s major tech businesses, whose platforms have now become significant battlegrounds for an aligned cyber war, and their data and services have become critical nodes in the struggle.


Major tech firms have undertaken initiatives to minimise Russia’s official media from spreading falsehoods as to its encroachment of Ukraine via social media. Simultaneously, technology is being used to inform and support individuals affected by the war. The conflict affects each and everyone, whether we notice it or not.

The Influence of Russian Media Outlets

Before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia enhanced its misinformation and deceptive operations on social media platforms to spread misleading propaganda backing an invasion of Ukraine, citing the need to “denazify” the nation and alleging Ukrainian hostility. But the Ukrainian government hasn’t proactively initiated any equivalent misinformation campaigns.


As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, social media platforms like Meta and Twitter have discovered and de-platformed deceptive actions and activities. While these organisations have attempted to improve their content monitoring, they have also been condemned for failing to act more quickly on potentially hazardous information.



Tech Sanctions by Major Tech Industries

Google stated that “ it was suspending channels on YouTube owned by Russian government-connected news outlets RT and Sputnik throughout Europe. Sputnik is a news organisation and RT is a global broadcasting network.


Google’s stance occurred as the European Union (EU) barred RT and Sputnik from broadcasting. EU authorities criticised the Russian government for spreading false propaganda through its state-owned media outlets. Furthermore, in Europe, the extremely prominent streaming site TikTok banned the accounts of RT and Sputnik.


Meta also stated that RT and Sputnik will be blocked on its Facebook and Instagram networks all across Europe. Within the United States, RT as well as other state-owned media sources are still operating on Facebook.


Meta also claimed to have uncovered and deactivated a system of pro-Russian groups responsible for disinformation efforts on Facebook and Instagram. The corporation stated that the measure was taken as it broke a guideline that prohibits visitors from registering fraudulent profiles and media sources.


Meta, Microsoft, and Alphabet, the parent firm of Google, have also taken steps to prevent Russian official press from profiting via advertisements on their sites.

Twitter said that it has begun imposing strict limitations to posts from media outlets associated with the Russian government. Twitter also stated that it will not recommend or steer users to Russian-related websites using its search algorithm.


Ukrainian officials have asked Meta to block accessibility to Facebook in Russia, but Meta has refused. According to company leaders, such a step would prohibit Russian citizens from learning about the situation, voicing their thoughts, and organising demonstrations on Instagram and Facebook.


Alphabet also stated that “ that it has disabled some of its Google Maps services in Ukraine, which give data about real traffic situations and people’s movements. Alphabet stated that  this measure was made to protect local residents.


TikTok users in Ukraine have utilised the app to spread awareness on Russia’s invasion. Images and videos uploaded on TikTok show missile-damaged neighbourhoods, empty grocery shops, and huge queues at petrol stations.


Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, announced that the Starlink satellite system has been enabled in Ukraine in an attempt to ensure the country is connected. Starlink brings  high connectivity to locations where it previously did not exist. So yet, no significant internet disruptions have been reported in Ukraine.


Shortly after Russia launched its invasion, social media activists started building networks to assist refugees. Millions joined these networks, giving Ukrainians escaping their country – residences, funds, and transport facilities.


In the Future

The Russian invasion has raised many crucial concerns about the role of technology, as well as tough decisions that must be taken to preserve people’ transparency and connectivity. Previously, actions to destroy electrical or financial systems during warfare were made by the government.


Everything on social media and the internet is now in the control of individual entities, bringing a new facet into geopolitical policymaking. This can lead to one of two possible outcomes. The first one will encourage restricted web framework and network services, both of which add to the overall strife. The other will allow for communication channels that endorse equally latent and apparent acts of hostility, and involve the global community as onlookers.


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