EU Breton wants Google and YouTube to ban war propaganda accounts

“War propaganda should never be recommended content – what’s more, it should have no place on online platforms at all,” says European industry chief Thierry Breton

Alphabet Inc and its YouTube unit should ban users from making wartime propaganda as part of moves to end disinformation after Russia invaded Ukraine, the industry chief said on Sunday European Thierry Breton to general managers of companies.

Alphabet’s Google on Saturday banned Russian state media RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook after the invasion of Ukraine.

In a video call with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Breton said companies should go further.

“Freedom of expression does not cover war propaganda. For too long, content from Russia Today and other Russian state media has been amplified by algorithms and offered as ‘recommended content’ to people who never asked for it,” Breton said in a statement afterward. the video call.

“War propaganda should never be recommended content – what’s more, it should have no place on online platforms at all. I count on the tech industry to take urgent and effective action to counter misinformation “, did he declare.

Breton said the companies’ terms and conditions for users should be extended to include war propaganda, giving them the power to kick violators from their platforms.

The commission said there was an agreement to adapt and update the platforms’ policies in view of the current situation.

European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova also participated in the video call.

“I expect YouTube and Google to step up their efforts to counter Russian war propaganda. Russia has weaponized information, which is why the platforms cannot be a space for its war lies,” she said in a statement.

Google said it has already taken unprecedented steps to shut down misinformation about Ukraine.

“As we told the commissioners, our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock and are ready to take further action,” a Google spokesperson said.

Banning accounts promoting war propaganda, however, could be problematic due to the difficulty of defining what constitutes propaganda and from whose perspective. –

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