Meta, also known as Facebook has announced a number of measures aimed at assisting users in Ukraine according to the company. This is despite the fact that Facebook has been officially blocked in Russia.
Ukraine’s cities are collapsing one after the other as the world watches in horror, and Meta has now come out in full support. The move comes despite the fact that Facebook has been officially restricted in Russia.
The company said in a statement, “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the war in Ukraine.” They also included that, “We are taking extensive steps across all of our apps to help ensure the safety of our community and to support those who use our services.”— both in Ukraine and globally.
Here are some of the immediate actions Meta has taken to assist Ukrainian citizens.
Assisting in the Protection of People In response to the situation on the ground, Meta has added several safety features in Ukraine and Russia.
Lock Your Profile: With this tool, users can lock their Facebook profile in a single step. When a person’s profile is locked, people who aren’t their friends can’t download, enlarge, or share their profile photo, nor can they see posts or other photos on that person’s profile, regardless of when they were posted. Meta’s teams are collaborating with non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations to ensure that people are aware of the availability of these tools.
Friends Lists: To help protect people from being targeted, Meta has temporarily disabled the ability to view and search the friend’s lists of Facebook accounts in Ukraine and Russia.
Instagram Privacy and Security: Meta is sending a top-of-feed notification about privacy and account security to everyone on Instagram in Ukraine and Russia. Meta reminds public accounts to check their settings if they want to make their accounts private. When a user makes their account private, any new followers must be approved, and only their followers can see their posts and stories. For those who already have private accounts, Meta is providing advice on how to keep them secure by using strong passwords and two-factor authentication. We’ve also made encrypted one-on-one chats on Instagram available to all adults in Ukraine and Russia.
Privacy and security in Messenger: Meta has expanded the tools available to Messenger users in Ukraine and Russia, such as quickly rolling out notifications for screenshots of disappearing messages in our end-to-end encrypted chats.
WhatsApp Secure Messaging: End-to-end encryption is used by default to protect users’ personal messages and calls, ensuring that they cannot be intercepted by any government. Users can now use “view once” media to send photos or videos that disappear after they are viewed, as well as “disappearing mode” to automatically delete all new chats after 24 hours to protect information if your phone is lost.
REDUCING MISINFORMATION SPREAD
Meta is taking extensive steps to combat misinformation on its apps and is continuing to consult with outside experts. This includes removing content that violates our policies and expanding our collaboration with regional third-party fact-checkers to debunk false claims so that fewer people see them.
CONTENT GLOBALLY DEMOTED BY META
Meta has now begun to globally demote content from state-controlled media outlets’ Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts, making it more difficult to find across its platforms. Meta has also banned advertisements from Russian state-controlled media and demonetized their accounts.
Ukraine’s State Emergency Services has launched a WhatsApp information helpline to promote reliable access to trustworthy information. Users will be able to access critical updates, reliable information, and details about emergency response procedures through the free service. To use the free WhatsApp helpline, save the number +380676785917 in your phone contacts and then text the word (begin) in a WhatsApp message to begin.
On Facebook and Instagram, more than $20 million has been raised for nonprofits in support of humanitarian efforts in Ukraine since February 23.
To assist those in need, Facebook groups have been formed, including one with 200,000 Romanian volunteers and donors coordinating transportation and accommodations for refugees. In Poland, a group of over 300,000 people is offering housing, clothing, medication, and rides from the border to those in need.
Meta has also pledged $15 million to aid humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.