Putin says freedom of speech on-line have to be defended in opposition to social media corporations intent on making ‘profit at any cost’


Russia’s president has warned that social media giants are making choices about what to publish and what to censor in their very own pursuits alone, and with none regard for the broader penalties of their actions.

Addressing the winners of the Russia-wide Teacher of the Year competitors on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin mentioned that “these platforms are, of course, primarily businesses … and what is the primary concern of a business? Making a profit.”

“They don’t care if this content or that content causes harm for the people at whom it is directed,” he mentioned. “After all, these modern IT companies are more and more beginning to control people’s consciousnesses.”

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Putin added that there was generally a case for proscribing entry to sure forms of publish, saying that “we must think about it, and react to it.” But, he caveated, “we must not make decisions that would limit human freedoms – the freedom of choice and freedom of speech.”

His feedback come weeks after his former counterpart, ex-US President Donald Trump, confronted suspensions or bans for his accounts on social media websites, together with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The strikes by the American tech giants to limit Trump’s posts got here within the wake of the storming of the Capitol constructing in Washington, amid fears of incitement to additional violence.

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At the time, Russian officers expressed concern over the precedent being set by the judgment of Silicon Valley chiefs. Russia’s Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mentioned the occasions amounted to “a nuclear blast in cyberspace.” “It has been a blow to the democratic values professed by the West,” she added.

The Russian founding father of the VKontakte social community and the Telegram messaging service, Pavel Durov, additionally warned that the scenario had potential penalties free of charge expression. “The Apple-Google duopoly,” he mentioned, poses a risk to free expression, as it could possibly “completely restrict which apps you use.” His feedback gave the impression to be a reference to the banning of the Parler app from Apple’s iOS retailer, after supporters of Trump migrated to the service.

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