SumOfUs Letter to Platforms Regarding Russian Disinformation

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook/Meta
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook/Meta
Nick Clegg, Vice President, Facebook/Meta
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
Parag Agrawal, CEO, Twitter
Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
Shou Zi Chew, CEO, TikTok
Pavel Durov, Founder, Telegram

We, Ukrainians and all citizens of the world, demand Big Tech stop enabling Russian propaganda and disinformation.

The war against a sovereign and independent country has been made possible through the lies Putin has fed the entire world to justify his actions. And your platforms are fanning the flames of this war by spreading Kremlin-backed disinformation through your various technologies.

While we welcome some of the commitments made in recent days to demonetize and label state-run disinformation, the truth is, these steps are too little too late. Tech companies have known about Putin’s disinformation machine for years, but have taken very little action to combat it. With your business models relying on user engagement with the most egregious content, you are profiting off Putin’s lies.

From disinformation about false flag attempts, to made up stories about a genocide against Russians — Putin is weaponizing social media, and innocent Ukrainians are paying the price. Several Russian state media channels continue to broadcast Russian disinformation and propaganda on YouTube, Facebook and other sites – racking up millions of views.

With Meta and YouTube’s decision to stop promoting Russian state media in Europe, millions of people will be protected from the harmful lies justifying this war. However platforms must go much further and stop promoting these channels everywhere – especially in the two places where it matters most: Russia and Ukraine.

Despite constant threats from authoritarian Russia, the Ukrainian people have repeatedly made clear their choice to uphold their country’s independence and to continue to build a democratic future -- ideals we can all relate to and work to uphold in our own countries. It is untenable that in the fight for freedom and independence, US companies would serve to undermine Ukrainian security and global democracy.

The power is in your hands. As concerned citizens from across the globe, we sincerely hope you adhere to the demands below and protect Ukraine and all democracies from the serious harms of Russian-backed disinformation.

We demand that you stop spreading disinformation that justifies Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including by removing access to Russian-state media channels everywhere, as well as the state-run and state-affiliated accounts promoting the disinformation.

We demand that the platforms stop algorithmic amplification of disinformation coming from the Russian government, its media ecosystem, and troll farms.

We demand that all platforms increase content moderation resources, and provide clear and effective systems for users to report disinformation coming from Russian state-run and state-affiliated accounts, and that the content is removed or down-ranked rapidly to correspond with the urgency of the situation.

We demand transparency into the disinformation being spread on your platforms, and provide independent researchers with access to aggregated data on the views of and engagement with high-reach public accounts, even for content that is removed.

We demand that you protect employees working in the region, including contractors working on content moderation.

Signed by:
Real Facebook Oversight Board
The American Federation of Teachers
Fair Vote
Je Suis Là
Defend Democracy
'NEVER AGAIN' Association
SES, Equality and Solidarity Association
Dare to be Grey
The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ)
Stitching the London Story
The Good Lobby
Transparency International EU
Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research
Tech Transparency Project
Friends of the Earth U.S.
Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD)
Elders for Sound Democracy
Women for Change
Avaaz Foundation
The Signals Network

National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a woman-led 501(c)(3) non-profit civil and human rights organization that was founded to eliminate hate, discrimination, and racism toward the Latino communities.
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