Facebook, Twitter Urged to Fight Russian Disinformation in a Better Way

A bipartisan group of three US senators urged Meta’s Facebook, Twitter and Telegram to do a better job of stopping Russian efforts to spread Spanish-language disinformation about the invasion of Ukraine.

Senators Bob Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent the letters, dated Wednesday, along with Senators Tim Kaine, also a Democrat, and Bill Cassidy, a Republican.

In particular, the lawmakers asked the companies to better moderate Russia’s RT en Espanol and Sputnik Mundo.

“We … know that disinformation campaigns by Russian state media’s Spanish-language outlets targeted at Latin American and Caribbean audiences regularly reach Spanish-speaking communities in the United States, directly harming our national interests,” they said in the three letters.

The letters were sent to Telegram Chief Executive Pavel Durov, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO.

Representatives of Facebook and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment while Telegram could not be reached.

A group of 21 US lawmakers sent a similar letter to Facebook in April.

Earlier this month, Britain proposed a new law that will require social media companies to proactively tackle disinformation posted by foreign states such as Russia, the government said.

The law would tackle fake accounts on platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Twitter that were set up on behalf of foreign states to influence elections or court proceedings, the government said.

The law is likely to be passed during this parliamentary session through an amendment to link the National Security Bill and Online Safety Bill, both of which are in the government’s current programme.

Communications regulator Ofcom will draw up codes of practice to help social media companies comply with the law and will have the power to issue fines for infringement.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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