Ukrainians in Ireland protest Facebook and Google demanding removal of Russian state backed propagandaPadraig Conlon 02 Mar 2022
(Pictured above are members of the Ukrainian community in Ireland protesting outside Meta Ireland headquarters this morning. Photo by Derek Speirs)
Members of the ‘Ukrainians in Ireland’ group and Uplift Ireland staged a protest this morning outside the Dublin headquarters of Meta (Facebook) and Google (Alphabet).
The groups say they are asking for the social media companies to remove all Russian state backed propaganda from their platforms.
The protestors, who were calling on the employees to consider their role in this crisis, carried signs and had a mobile billboard reading ‘Stop Putin’s Lies, Save Ukrainian Lives.’
They also handed over an open letter signed by 4650 people yesterday.
Michael Baskin, Organiser, Ukrainians in Ireland said accused the social media companies of putting profits before people.
“Putin’s lies and hate speech are designed to cause confusion, break the Ukrainian spirit and distract the world from his bombing of civilians,” he said.
“It will cost lives. It breaks my heart to think of these offices, just a few miles from my home, acting as the European HQ for Russian propaganda.
“These companies must put the Ukrainian people before profit and remove these accounts immediately.
“While Ireland plays host as the European HQ for these social media companies we can not let them transform Ireland into a home for hate.
“The Facebook Offices in Ireland played a role in the negligence that facilitated the genocide of Rohingya Muslims, we can not allow the same offices to be complicit in attacks on the Ukrainian people.”
Siobhán O’ Donoghue, Executive Director, Uplift Ireland also called on the social media giants to do more.
“While Facebook, Google and TikTok have made some moves to restrict or block Russian state backed accounts in the EU, this protest is calling for the removal of all Russian state-run and Kremlin-affiliated accounts everywhere in the world,” she said.
“Social media knows no borders.
“Russian-state entities would be in clear breach of the platforms terms and conditions already.”
Mike, an employee of Google said: “I can see the awful results of disinformation and lies being shared online.
“My Russian friends are having a lot of difficulty getting their parents to understand that the information they are hearing from Russian state media channels is false.
“I fully support free speech but there is a difference between expressing opinions and spreading lies designed to spread hate and fear.”
“People believe and trust official sources and what is being shared is dangerous. We also need to find the right balance to make sure people in Russia have access to uncensored information.
Artem Nedostup from Ukraine and working in Dublin said: “Russian state controlled media has been pushing disinformation and hate for years.
“From anti vaccine conspiracies to hate and lies about different groups of people, undermining democracies all over the world.
“This may be too late but we need the social media and tech platforms to stop allowing them to share this propaganda, not just in Europe but across the world.”