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Polish minister wants Russian ambassadors kicked off social media to fight disinformation

To ramp up the fight against Kremlin-backed disinformation, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook should ban Russian ambassadors from their platforms, a Polish minister said Tuesday. 

“Take them down; they’re propaganda officers of an aggressive regime responsible for thousands of people killed, for the massacres of civilians,” said Janusz Cieszyński, Poland’s digital secretary of state, in an interview with POLITICO. 

After the EU banned state-sponsored media outlets RT, formerly known as Russia Today, and Sputnik, Moscow has in recent months increasingly used its embassies’ widely followed accounts to share its propaganda. 

Several social media companies have until now focused on curbing the reach of Russian diplomatic messages. Twitter said in March it would not promote Russian state accounts on platforms, while Facebook announced in April it would look into new action against Kremlin-linked pages. 

But Poland, which has called on Big Tech to more forcefully crack down on online falsehoods since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine, is pressing ahead with requests for more radical action to cut the Russian foreign ministry’s access to popular social media platforms. 

Russian officials are “only lying and putting disinformation in the discourse; it is of no value to anyone apart from them,” Cieszyński said. 

The Polish junior minister said he would push the EU to ramp up its efforts to pressure social media platforms to put a dent in the Russian state-backed disinformation campaign. 

“The EU should actually do a lot more in terms of applying pressure on these platforms to get state-sponsored disinformation off [them],” he said. 

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