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Putin Says Social Media Giants Are Too Powerful, Compete With Global Leaders

Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

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Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the growing monopoly power of social media companies Wednesday, saying the tech companies compete with the power of nations.

Vladimir Putin said he is worried about the increasing power of social media companies and their role in “wider society” during his remarks at the virtual Davos Agenda summit on Wednesday, CNBC reported. Putin stopped short, however, of mentioning any social media companies by name.

“Digital giants have been playing an increasingly significant role in wider society,” Putin said, according to CNBC. “We are now talking about economic giants, aren’t we? In certain areas, they are competing with states and their audience can include millions and millions of users.”

“Here is the question, how well does this monopolism correlate with the public interest?” Putin said. (RELATED: ‘Oil Barons And Railroad Tycoons’: Big Tech Must Be Restructured, House Report Says)

Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a Senate committee hearing in 2018. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a Senate committee hearing in 2018. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Putin’s comments Wednesday were likely a reference to the recent social media crackdown on former President Donald Trump. Twitter permanently suspended Trump from using his account on Jan. 8, citing potential “incitement of violence.”

Twitter’s ban came after the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally where Trump spoke before rally attendees stormed the Capitol building. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, Reddit and many others also suspended or banned the former president from their platforms, Axios reported.

“After review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement on Jan. 12.

Big Tech companies have faced intense regulatory scrutiny from governments across the world. Thirty-eight U.S. states filed a lawsuit in December against Google alleging anti-competitive business tactics.

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