Bulletins

Sen. Warner calls on tech giants to curb Russian propaganda

Sen. Mark Warner, who chairs the Intelligence Committee, wrote to Meta, TikTok, Twitter and others — and blasted YouTube for letting Russian government outlets monetize their content.

Sen. Mark Warner gestures his hand with his glasses as he gazes over a placard with his name.

Sen. Mark Warner blasted Russian government news outlets monetizing YouTube content as the war in Ukraine widens.

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Sen. Mark Warner, the chair of the Intelligence Committee, wrote to tech companies including Alphabet and Meta on Friday to urge them to help stop Russia influence operations over the war in Ukraine.


"As this conflict continues, we can expect to see an escalation in Russia’s use of both overt and covert means to sow confusion about the conflict and promote disinformation narratives that weaken the global response to these illegal acts," Warner wrote. His letters also went to Reddit, Telegram, TikTok and Twitter.

In his letter to Alphabet, Warner called out YouTube for serving ads on channels run by Russian state media outlets including RT, Sputnik and TASS. "Unfortunately, your platforms continue to be key vectors for malign actors ... to not only spread disinformation, but to profit from it," Warner told Sundar Pichai.

Warner said social media services can provide a vital window into the conflict, but can also be a front in a war that's rife with strategic falsehoods. He urged the companies to "establish mechanisms by which Ukrainian public safety entities can disseminate emergency communications" to users in the country, to devote extra "security resources to Ukrainian government, humanitarian, and public safety institutions to prevent account takeovers," to do more to spot fake accounts and content and to make it so qualified researchers can report misinformation activity.

Twitter, Meta and YouTube have already taken some steps to protect users, including tips on deleting or locking down accounts.

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