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European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova on Tuesday urged Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft, Meta Platforms and TikTok to do more to tackle what she called Russia’s “multi-million euro weapon of mass manipulation” ahead of elections in Europe.
Concerns have mounted in recent months about a spate of disinformation related to parliamentary elections in Slovakia on Sept. 30 and Poland next month as well as European Parliament elections next year.The companies and other online platforms have submitted data on their activity in the last six months to fight fake news as part of the EU code of practice on disinformation.”The Russian state has engaged in the war of ideas to pollute our information space with half-truth and lies to create a false image that democracy is no better than autocracy,” she told a press conference.”Today, this is a multi-million euro weapon of mass manipulation …”The ‘very large platforms’ must address this risk. Especially as we have to expect that the Kremlin and others will be active before elections.”
After the last European Parliament elections in 2019, Russia’s Security Council described accusations that Moscow had spread disinformation to sway voters as absurd.
Last February, Yevgeny Prigozhin, late head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, acknowledged having founded the Internet Research Agency, which Washington says is a disinformation “farm” that meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.