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Senator Warner Calls for Treasury Oversight on Big Tech Sanctions

 |  January 29, 2024
Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has called upon the U.S. Treasury Department to enhance efforts in ensuring major tech firms, such as Meta Platforms and Alphabet, comply with sanctions against foreign entities advertising on their platforms.

Warner’s concerns, outlined in a letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, highlight a perceived failure of the Treasury Department in overseeing “sanctions compliance in digital advertising markets.” Specifically pointing fingers at American tech giants Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Meta (Facebook’s parent company), Warner accused these companies of consistently disregarding U.S. sanctions rules.

According to the senator, these tech behemoths are still providing advertising technology services to entities linked with countries Warner labels as “foreign adversaries,” including Russia and Iran. The letter emphasizes that the Treasury Department needs to take immediate action to prevent the continuation of such practices.

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Notable instances cited in Warner’s letter involve reports from late 2023, revealing Google’s alleged serving of ads to sanctioned Russian and Iranian firms. Additionally, the letter references Facebook advertising being exploited by pro-Russian businessman Ilan Shor for what Warner describes as “malign influence activity targeting Moldovan elections.”

Highlighting the significance of the upcoming elections, Warner stressed the need for the Treasury Department to rigorously enforce compliance with U.S. sanctions. As many countries, including the United States, gear up for elections this year, the senator underscores the importance of preventing tech companies from facilitating activities that could compromise the integrity of democratic processes.

The response from the accused tech giants, Alphabet and Meta, is yet to be seen, as they did not immediately comment on Warner’s allegations.

Source: Reuters