Minister Haraka's opinion piece: Data platforms have a responsibility


Western democracies must act in decisive cooperation in order to help Ukraine against the brutal attack, writes Minister Timo Harakka.

Minister Harakka's opinion piece: Data platforms have a responsibility

Timo Harakka. PHOTO: Outi JärvinenYesterday at 9:28

Iltalehti publishes an opinion piece by Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Haraka (sd) in response to Iltalehti's editorial.


The responsibility of transnational social media platforms rightly came up in Iltalehti's editorial (July 15). Western democracies must cooperate decisively in order to help Ukraine against this brutal attack. Social platforms cannot be the Fifth Column, which by spreading disinformation and propaganda and preventing Russian violence from coming out, hinder our common defense. False information costs lives.

Meta/Facebook, Twitter, Google and Youtube were not prepared for Russia's challenge. There would have been time, not so much the desire.

In 2016, Putin's troll factories poisoned the US presidential election – Facebook was finally forced to admit that more than 100 million users had been exposed to Russian fake news. Cambridge Analytica provided the personal data of more than 80 million Facebook customers to political influence companies.

Twitter itself has estimated that five percent of its accounts are bots, according to experts there are three times as many fake users.

< p class="paragraph">The companies' own recommendation algorithms – which they protect as trade secrets – also direct users to content that incites confrontation and conflict. The companies do business at the expense of the customers' mental health and integrity, revealed Frances Haugen's leaked Meta internal information.

The situation is normally alarming. It became downright dangerous when Russia started its offensive. The most popular search on YouTube led to a video in which an “expert” proved that the West was guilty of the war in Ukraine.

Social media is unwilling and unable to control its content. At the same time, when the Russian hate machine has been allowed to spread lies that endanger Ukraine, it has prevented the presentation of information supporting Ukraine. For a long time, Facebook censored pictures of the Butsha massacre because they were “too violent”.

We EU telecommunications ministers do not accept that, due to the pursuit of profit, social media companies would not do everything possible to combat the Russian propaganda attack. This became clear to Metal, Google, Youtube and Twitter when we heard them at the Council of Ministers in March. The companies recognized their responsibility and promised improvements.

At the beginning of summer, I participated in an internet security meeting. In it, my colleague Mykhailo Fedorov, who leads Ukraine's digital defense incredibly effectively, appealed to Meta-Facebook to quickly correct its life-threatening practices.

Meta's attitude at the event was very sympathetic. It caught my attention that the recent comments of Meta's Finnish representative are from a completely different world – perhaps the world before Putin's attack.

The EU has very recently made decisions on a significant set of laws that regulate large online companies. That doesn't please the data giants. Meta threatens to leave the European market due to “too strict” privacy requirements – but the EU is not going to back down.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulates the biggest “gatekeepers” – in addition to social platforms, but also search engines (Google) and user interfaces (Apple). In their systems, it must be possible to use competitors' applications and in the applications, competitors' services. The position of small businesses and consumers will improve.

The Digital Services Act (DSA), on the other hand, obliges online platforms to remove illegal content and block distributors. In particular, the rights of children are protected. Again, the largest media platforms are obliged to take preventive measures and to open up their data and algorithms.

In addition, the Data Governance Act adopted last year and its successor Data Act build fair competition and rules improving the user's rights. This fall, we are also preparing the world's first regulation of artificial intelligence (A.I. Act) at the Telecom Council.

The data industry therefore gets comprehensive rules almost at once. Finland has started these projects even before the 2019 presidency, which are based on the EU emphasis on civil rights, innovation, openness and competition. The early MyData movement and the worldwide success of mobile data have created a leading position for Finland, which we want to strengthen even more.

It also brings us responsibility. Ukraine is hoping for help from Finland both today in digital defense and combating fake information, and tomorrow in rebuilding data services. It is our honor.

Timo Harakka (sd)

Minister of Transport and Communications< /em>


Editorial: Timo Harakka accuses the Finnish director of Facebook of “washing his hands”, but Finland and the EU have been helpless against the American giant 15.7.2022 21 :12Minister Magpie lashed out at Facebook's Aura Salla – “Trust is running low” 15.7.2022 17:28


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