Protesters gathered on Wednesday outside the headquarters of Meta in Dublin before marching to those of Google in a call for action to combat the spread of disinformation linked to the war in Ukraine by Russian state media.
The two tech giants have already taken measures to tackle disinformation, however.
While Google on Monday announced a ban on the YouTube channels of RT and Sputnik, Meta is restricting access to the accounts of both outlets. Microsoft and TikTok have taken similar actions. Like Twitter, Meta has also said it is demoting content published by Russian state-controlled media.
But protesters in Dublin, which is home to the European headquarters of many big tech companies, appealed for stricter action, including the global take-down of content and accounts altogether.
“Russian disinformation operations and this web of influence has been allowed to grow for years”, said one of the protest’s organisers, broadcaster RTÉ. “We need a worldwide removal of these accounts.”
On Wednesday, the EU released new economic sanctions banning the broadcast and dissemination of RT and Sputnik content within the bloc, after Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged on Sunday to clamp down on the organisations’ spread of “toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe”.