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IT companies focus on providing reliable information for Ukraine invasion

Information technology companies are focused on providing reliable information and stymying Russian propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine, the CEO of Google and Alphabet Inc. said Tuesday.

Sundar Pichai met with Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw to discuss ways of aiding the people of war-torn Ukraine.

“We are also working to make sure that trustworthy and helpful information gets to people through our products,” Pichai said after the meeting.

That includes air raid alerts to Ukrainians as well as information about shelters and humanitarian aid. “We are also blocking channels and apps associated with Russia’s state-funded media,” Pichai said.

Google has donated $35 million to humanitarian organizations working in Ukraine and is offering grants and fellowships for refugees and for Poland’s NGOs. Another $10 million will go to supporting civil society in Ukraine.

Pichai and Morawiecki also held a remote meeting with the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Jansa and with a representative of COVID-19-infected Czech premier, Petr Fiala. The three prime ministers met with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv two weeks ago, to discuss best ways of offering support.

Leaders of countries bordering Russia and Ukraine have appealed to the heads of big IT companies for help in fighting false information and in curbing Russian propaganda about the war.

Morawiecki expressed his “personal thanks” to Pichai, for his “critical role” in spreading the truth at the time of war.

“Russia is moving from autocracy to the totalitarian regime where the propaganda is so important,” Morawiecki said.

This is why the role of Google and information platforms is “critically important in this war for freedom,” Morawiecki said. “Google is helping in this war for freedom (by) spreading the truth.”

Pichai also met with Poland’s NGO humanitarian organizations and teams of Ukrainian startups.

Some 2.3 million from the 4 million Ukrainian refugees have sought safety in Poland since the Feb. 24 start of Russia’s invasion. AP

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