This month’s Knowledge Drop was supposed to be as usual. But we can’t remain indifferent to what’s happening now in Ukraine.
That’s why we’re dedicating our March Newsletter to sharing information on how we can all help Ukraine and its people.
Terrified by the recent events, we have been following the news every day, wondering how we can help our neighbors. We know how many people need help both in Ukraine and after crossing the borders – in Poland.
Our activities focus on helping people from Ukraine find a temporary place of residence in Poland, Poznan. Together with our sister agency CRU, we’re looking for accomodation for Ukrainian families who have recently escaped Ukraine. If you know Ukrainian citizens that need support or your company would like to support the cause, contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also help by supporting organizations that are helping people directly in Ukraine. There are many online donation websites but we made sure to pick only the most reliable sources.
Below you can find all international links with an explanation of the purpose of use.
- Polish Humanitarian Action – Helps victims of humanitarian crises
- Polish Center For International Aid – Campaign to finance the work of Ukrainian humanitarian workers who cooperate on-site with the Polish foundation.
- International Committee Of The Red Cross – The ICRC has been working in Ukraine since 2014. Their support to people includes emergency assistance such as food, water, and other essential items.
- Polish Medical Mission – Medical assistance for Ukraine.
More info on this page ➡️ https://uacrisis.org/en/help-ukraine
The consequences of Russian aggression can be seen everywhere, with important communication platforms under siege. There’s a lot of information, but also a big wave of fake news. In addition to the sanctions imposed on the state, some online platforms have also expressed their opposition to Russia’s actions.
Facebook is at the center of the social media information flow within the conflict zone, with around 70 million users in Russia, and 24 million in Ukraine, approximately half of the total population of each respective nation.
Late last week, the Russian Government announced that it would restrict access to Facebook due to Meta’s refusal to remove misinformation warning labels on posts from state-affiliated media. Now, Meta has taken that action a step further, by also prohibiting ads from Russian state media and are demonetizing these accounts, severely limiting the capacity for Russian authorities to use Facebook as an information vector.
Meta has taken a strong stance, while it’s also restricted access to many accounts within Ukraine, including those belonging to Russian state media organizations. Meta has also announced that it will restrict access to content from Russian state-affiliated media outlets RT and Sputnik in response to requests from EU officials.
The Russian Government has moved to label Meta an extremist organization.. Russia is thus blocking its citizens from accessing Facebook and Instagram platforms. Whatsapp remains unchanged for the time being.
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri shared his thoughts on the decision:
On Monday, Instagram will be blocked in Russia. This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong.
Twitter banned political ads, including those from state-affiliated media, back in 2019, so it’s already ahead of the curve in this respect. In this case Twitter has announced a temporary ban on all ads in Ukraine and Russia “to ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don’t detract from it”. It’s also adding labels to Tweets that share links to Russian state-affiliated media websites, while it’s also reducing the circulation of this content by removing it from recommendations, downranking it in algorithm-defined timelines and more.
Access to Twitter has been blocked for local users. Twitter has also blocked more than 100 accounts using the pro-Russian hashtags #IStandWithPutin. The platform also launched the Tor onion service – to help Russian users maintain usage of the platform, despite restrictions enacted by the Russian Government.
TikTok had its own fair share of fake news. The platform is constantly fighting against widespread Russian propaganda. Footage of paratroopers from the invasion has been circulating online, serving as a good example of misinformation. The video has 20 million views, but it’s not from the current situation, but from 2016. This is a big challenge for the teams that moderate TikTok content. Thus far, TikTok has made no official comment on the conflict, nor how its platform is being used. The newest update is about TikTok has geo-blocked content from Russian state-affiliated media outlets for users in the EU. Those outside the EU can still access this content.
The platform commented on the recent changes in the light of Russia’s ‘fake news’ law:
“In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law. Our in-app messaging service will not be affected. We will continue to evaluate the evolving circumstances in Russia to determine when we might fully resume our services with safety as our top priority.”
At the request of the Ukrainian Government, Google-owned YouTube has announced that it’s restricting access to Russian state-owned media outlets for users in Ukraine, while it’s also suspending monetization for several Russian channels.
YouTube’s also removing Russian state-owned channels from recommendations, and limiting the reach of their uploads across the platform.
YouTube announced the blockade of Russian state-funded media. Platform will also remove content that “denies, minimizes or trivializes” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and disable all monetization tools for Russian users.
We have also listed initiatives that are already showing some initial results. It’s a handful of positive information about the activities carried out so far:
- About 570,000 members of the Facebook group Help for Ukraine
- Airbnb.org offered help to 100,000 refugees – And it’s not over yet. By announcing its intentions, the platform has gained 30,000 new hosts offering accommodation to refugees.
- Google temporarily deactivates live traffic data on maps in Ukraine
- PKP Intercity offers free rides for Ukrainian citizens. Flixbus and many private companies send their buses to the border.
- Rocket Jobs publishes job offers with Ukrainian translation.
- Elon Musk activated Starlink service in Ukraine – Starlink is the most-downloaded App In Ukraine.
- Ukraine is also supported by the hacker group Anonymous, which declared Cyber War on Putin
- People from Ukraine are able to come to Poland with their pets, even without veterinary documentation. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has announced it.
- Tech To The Rescue creates aggregated databases and help databases and already brings together about 520 companies and 86 non-profits willing to support Ukrainian NGOs.
The Polish technology industry also supports Ukraine. How? Let us explain what Tech To The Rescue does – because they do a lot!
Tech To The Rescue collects and vet the non-profit needs for scaling the impact so the companies know their contribution would create real change. They’re also the biggest community of professional tech teams that want to support non-profits on a pro-bono or low-bono basis.
In response to the conflict in Ukraine, they decided to create a #TechForUkraine campaign. #TechForUkraine activates tech companies from around the world to support Ukrainian non-profits pro bono by delivering digital solutions to increase their impact. They also provide cybersecurity support to several non-profits.
As the organization went on to say:
“Technology affects the world around us. It makes it more stable. More predictable. This is why the time to act is now.’’
#TechToTheUkraine movement has already contributed to 520 companies, 86 non-profits and 28 projects matched. In the last few days, Tech To The Rescue matched several big projects:
- UA SOS – The app has 4 languages and is one of the most popular ,,AirBnB-type” options. UA SOS allows refugees to find accommodation and transport.
- Peace of Heart – A charity collection of NFT’s created to help Ukraine and its people by digitizing drawings made by Ukrainian children who expressed their feelings about their experience of war in this way.
- Testasy – A tele-medical app that allows Ukrainian patients to connect with Ukrainian-speaking doctors.
- Upgraded cybersecurity measures for one of the leading pages that fights disinformation and fake news.
Ukrainian civil society is strong, but it needs to get stronger. If you’d like to support the organization’s activities – visit Tech To The Rescue’s Linkedin profile. There you can find direct sources to do so.
Our thoughts are with those directly impacted by the conflict, and their families.