What’s New in Internet Freedom in Ukraine? Overview for June 25 – July 15, 2019

We regularly monitor incidents and violations of Internet freedom in Ukraine. You can read the results and analytics on our website: netfreedom.org.ua

Read 5 Key Texts from July Overview from Internet Freedom: How does disinformation on social networks spread before parliamentary elections in Ukraine? Why is Steve Wozniak asking everyone to delete their Facebook accounts? What taxes and laws does France introduce to regulate social networks? Who and why fined Facebook in July? What legislation on the Internet will be on the agenda of the new parliament? More below:


Vkontakte that is blocked in Ukraine continues to lose audience. According to the new study by Factum Group published by the Ukrainian Internet Association, Vkontakte went down to the eighth place in the rating of websites most popular among Ukrainians. A mere month ago, it rated sixth. The most visited websites in Ukraine are traditionally Google, Youtube, Facebook, Ukr.Net, and privatbank.ua.

Photo: Ukrinform

“We need to establish the rules that will be beneficial to both sides – Ukraine and Facebook” – key points of the July 2 discussion. During the round table in Ukrinform, representatives of the Ministry of Information Policy, NGO “Internews Ukraine”, CEDEM, and civil society discussed Facebook’s privacy policy, countering hate speech on the social network and the need for joint agreements between Ukraine and the company that would be beneficial for both sides. Read more on hate speech and disinformation on Facebook on our website.

How election disinformation spreads on social networks. Before the parliamentary elections in Ukraine, fake pages spreading untrue information on Facebook started to appear. This was how untrue posts said to have been written by restaurant owner and businessman Mykola Tyshchenko who runs for the parliament as member of the Servant of the People party in 219 election district appeared. In them, he supposedly offered free lunches in his restaurants to people living in the election district. This was also how the fake page for KIIS (Kyiv International Institute for Sociology) was created that publishes untrue sociological data on ratings in various election districts.

Facebook and the World 

Steve Wozniak is asking users to delete their Facebook profiles. Co-founder of Apple is concerned that the technological giants are intervening into the private life of users and is convinced: some people are not afraid to lose privacy in exchange for those benefits that the social network provides them. Wozniak said that to preserve confidentiality most people must find a way to get rid of Facebook.

Facebook agreed for the first time to provide courts in France information about users who are charged with using hate speech. Earlier, Facebook cooperated with France on cases that concerned terror attacks and violence, providing IP-addresses and identification information of suspects to courts that officially asked for them. The cooperation will not be expanded to cases on hate speech and disinformation.

New fines for Facebook. In Italy, the regulator on data confidentiality fined Facebook for 1 million Euro for violations related to Cambridge Analytica scandal. This is the largest fine imposed on the company in this case. Germany also fined the company for 2 million Euro in July 2019 for violating the legislation on countering the spread of fake news and hate speech. Germany’s federal authority on justice thinks that the company “distorted the picture on the scale of illegal content on the platform and the methods used to counter it.”

 Photo: Reuters

France adopted a new law on countering hate speech, as well as taxes for income of technological giants. The National Assembly adopted a law that will make social networks to delete content that the French government considers hate speech. After the law is approved by the Senate, online platforms will have 24 hours to delete corresponding content. If they don’t, they can be fined for up to 1.25 million Euro. Besides, the French parliament introduced a special tax for technological companies that obliges them to pay 3% from the income that they received in the country. The tax will first and foremost apply to American technological giants Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.

Denmark plans to regulate bloggers with many subscribers. The Minister on children and education of Denmark announced that the government intends to oblige famous people to adhere to the ‘standards of classic press” and bear “editorial responsibility.” This happened after a famous blogger reported a suicide attempt on Instagram.

Belgium to pay the fine for slow Internet daily – the decision of European Court. The country has to pay 5 thousand Euro a day until it ensures the execution of the EU Directive on high-speed Internet in the country adopted in 2014.

Image: CNN

Trump will no longer be able to block users on Twitter. This decision was made by the Court of Appeals in New York on July 9, 2019, based on the first amendment to the US Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech to citizens. The court ruled that Trump’s personal Twitter account is not just a personal blog, but an official account that the US President uses to make statements about his policies, so it is prohibited to block citizens.

Read the news on Internet development, Internet freedom and digital rights on our website https://netfreedom.org.ua/

The overview has been written by NGO “Internews Ukraine”.



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