Europe has no tech giants of its own. In fact, it’s only starting to build its single digital market. So the US probe into how Silicon Valley platforms are used as Trojan horses by foreign autocracies serves as a groundbreaking exercise.
Marietje Schaake, a Dutch MEP, notes that “the digital revolution has led to a redistribution of power, but not to a redistribution of accountability and oversight”. She adds: “The global tech companies are the new sovereigns, but are designed to maximise profit – not democracy.” She’s calling for “digital democratic conventions” that might help set up rules.
None of this is simple. But if there’s a lesson to be drawn from the US hearings, it is that the law of the jungle rules in social media. That has massive implications. With Europe’s populist wave still pounding the continent, it is high time for us, too, to find solutions. After all, if Russian troll farms can impersonate Black Lives Matter activists and white supremacists in the US, what can they be up to in Europe? And who’s looking into this?
Donald Trump has warned Russia in an incendiary tweet to “get ready” for US missile strikes against its ally SyriaRepublic in Western Asia in response to Saturday’s chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town outside Damascus.
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at SyriaRepublic in Western Asia,” the US president tweeted. “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
In an instant reply the Russian foreign ministryRussian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, and not elected governments”.
Russia and the western alliesGrouping of the victorious countries of World War II were unable to compromise on a concerted international response to the use of chemical weapons at the UN on Tuesday evening, after a diplomatic crisis erupted over an attack on DoumaCity in Syria on 7 April that killed more than 45 people.