" ITREALMS: Journalists demand change in Google, Meta's media policies - ITREALMS

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Journalists demand change in Google, Meta's media policies - ITREALMS

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Google, Meta and other tech giants are making it more challenging to access independent media content in Belarus, exiled journalists have told the European Commission.
Journalists demand change in Google, Meta's media policies - ITREALMS
By complying with restrictions Alexander Lukashenko's government has imposed, these companies have "become tools for a totalitarian and authoritarian regime to put pressure on civil society instead of helping to promote independent media," the exiled journalist Natalia Belikova told the Financial Times in January.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that technology companies have enormous power — perhaps, in some cases, even more than those in political power," Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya told DW in January on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. "It is important that these companies are on the side of good and committed to promoting democratic values."

Russian media have the same problem. "It is clear to us that algorithms by Google, the world's largest search engine, inevitably contribute to Russian state propaganda because links to state and pro-government media dominate in search results and recommended news generated for any particular user," said Sarkis Darbinyan, co-founder of the digital rights organization Roskomsvoboda.

If a user tries to access a blocked media company, the search engine algorithm marks the link as inactive, which makes the website disappear from the search results. Meanwhile, unblocked media with similar headlines appear instead.

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