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U.S. sanctions against Russia: Treasury Dept is urged to influence Facebook and Google

U.S. sanctions against Russia: Treasury Dept is urged to influence Facebook and Google Photo: The Senate urged the U.S. Treasury Department to force Facebook and Google to comply with sanctions against the Russian Federation (GettyImages)

The U.S. Senate panel urges the Treasury Department to do more to ensure that major technology companies, including Meta Platforms and Alphabet Inc, adhere to sanctions against "foreign adversaries," particularly Russia and Iran, reports Reuters.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who chairs the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, stating that the Treasury Department is unable to "ensure compliance with sanctions in the digital advertising markets."

American technology firms like Alphabet, which owns Google, and Meta, which owns Facebook, "continue to flout U.S. sanctions rules," the lawmaker said in the letter.

He contends that tech giants persist in providing advertising services to organizations sanctioned by the U.S. and with deep ties to countries he referred to as "foreign adversaries," including Russia and Iran.

Among the examples cited by the senator in the letter were reports in late 2023 that Google displayed advertisements for Russian and Iranian companies under sanctions. Additionally, pro-Russian Moldovan politician Ilan Shor allegedly used Facebook advertising for what Mark Warner termed "malign influence activity targeting Moldovan elections."

The legislator noted that this year, elections are taking place in many countries, including the United States, making it crucial for the Treasury Department to ensure compliance with U.S. sanctions.

Sanctions against Russia by the United States

The United States has imposed sanctions against Russia across various sectors in response to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. For instance, Western sanctions have led to half of Russia's oil and petroleum product exports in 2023 going to China, while India's share increased to 40% in two years. Europe's share in Russian oil exports plummeted to approximately 4-5%, down from around 40-45%.

Additionally, in October, the United States implemented sanctions due to violations of pricing practices in the sale of Russian oil.