Poland joins regional peers in Big Tech disinformation plea

They urged Big Tech companies, such as Facebook, to remain "vigilant and resist being used as means of advancing such goals. JOHN G. MABANGLO/PAP/EPA

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, and the heads of government of several other Central and Eastern European countries have written an open letter to the leaders of global Big Tech companies urging them to step up the fight against disinformation.

Along with Morawiecki, the letter was signed by the prime minister of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Slovakia and Ukraine.

"Tech platforms like yours have become virtual battlegrounds and hostile foreign powers are using them to spread false narratives that contradict reporting from fact-based news outlets," the prime ministers wrote. "Disinformation is one of their most important and far-reaching weapons. It creates and spreads false narratives to strategically advance malign goals."

They pointed out that since Russia invaded Ukraine, Moldova has been at the forefront of an information war. "However, all our countries are under attack, too, because while direct targets differ, the ultimate goals of information warfare are universal," they wrote.

"Foreign information manipulation and interference, including disinformation is being deployed to destabilise our countries, weaken our democracies, to derail Moldova’s and Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and to weaken our support to Ukraine amid Russia’s war of aggression," they continued.

They urged Big Tech companies, such as Facebook, to remain "vigilant and resist being used as means of advancing such goals.

"They should take steps to ensure that their platforms are not being used to spread propaganda or disinformation that promotes war, justifies war crimes, crimes against humanity or other forms of violence," they went on to say.

According to the leaders, "algorithmic designs should prioritise accuracy and truthfulness over engagement when promoting content."

They also advocated more staff and financial resources be assigned to content moderation, "particularly in the complex field of hate speech, where automated algorithms may not suffice and human review is crucial.”

"We urge you to join forces with democratic governments and civil society and work together to protect the integrity of information and ensure the security of our societies," the prime ministers added.