RIGA - More than in any other conflict so far, disinformation is being used as a weapon in the war in Ukraine, which requires a lot of effort by those maintaining on-line platforms to detect the spread of misleading information, Karan Bhatia, vice-president and head government affairs and public policy at Google, told LETA in an interview.
He pointed out that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has become a major focus throughout Google, as attention has to be paid to finding disinformation and misleading information.
Bhatia noted that Google has taken several steps to address the issue, starting with removing Russian-funded media from the company's platforms, while YouTube has shut down hundreds of channels that spread false information, and thousands of videos have been removed. The placement of ads from Russia on Google platforms has also been halted.
The Google representative mentioned that it is also important to invest in work so that people can receive true and accurate information, and the company, for example, has taken several measures to ensure that people in Ukraine have easy access to the necessary information, where the nearest refugee assistance centers are located, etc. Also, a mobile app has been created so that people in Ukraine have timely information about air raid alert warnings.
At the same time, Bhatia stated that the company still provides access to YouTube and Google Search in Russia, because the company considers it important that people in Russia have access to the facts about what is really happening in this war.
It is also important to work with cyber security challenges, Bhatia said, noting that there are a number of cyber threats - both for Ukrainian and regional institutions, and the company's team has worked to improve the security of websites, domains that can be the target of potential attacks.
At the same time, Google has pledged to double its investment in the region because "one of the consequences of the war is that people, companies and investors feel anxious about stability and opportunities for growth," Bhatia said.
He expressed confidence that this will continue to be a very important region for the company and also for Europe, including in terms of economic growth.