Ukraine War Tests the Power of Tech Giants

Telegram’s experience reflects competitive pressures. This app is popular for sharing pictures, videos and information about the war in Russia and Ukraine. But it has also become a breeding ground for misinformation, such as unverified images from battlefields.

On Sunday, Telegram founder Pavel Durov posted to his more than 600,000 followers on the platform that they were considering blocking some war-related channels inside Ukraine and Russia as they could escalate the conflict and incite ethnic hatred.

Users responded with alarms and said they were concerned on the telegram for independent information. Less than an hour later, Mr. Durov reversed the course.

“Many users have asked us not to consider disabling telegram channels for the duration of the conflict, as we are the only source of information for them,” he wrote. Telegram did not respond to a request for comment.

Inside Meta, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, the situation has become “chaotic” due to the amount of Russian disinformation on its apps, said two employees who were not authorized to speak in public. Russian experts on Meta’s security team, which identifies and removes state-sponsored impurities from Facebook and Instagram, work around the clock and regularly communicate their findings with Twitter, YouTube and other companies, the two employees said.

Meta’s security team has long debated whether to ban Sputnik and Russia Today, two of Russia’s largest state-run media sites, on its platform or to label their posts so that they could reveal their source. Russia Today and Sputnik are “crucial elements in Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem,” according to a January report from the State Department.

Meta executives resisted the move, saying it would anger Russia, employees said. But after the war broke out, Nick Clegg, the head of global affairs for Meta, Announced On Monday, the company will block access to Russia Today and Sputnik across the European Union.

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