At the start of the war, we pledged to support the people of Ukraine — including millions who have been uprooted and those who are still facing deadly attacks and the realities of life in a war zone. Since then we’ve launched new products to help address specific needs, new protections against cyber attacks and new efforts to provide high-quality, reliable information and to fight disinformation. We’ve also provided assistance to Ukrainians who have been affected, including essential support for our Google colleagues and their families in the region.
We shared our first commitments in March 2022 and provided another update in December 2022. As we continue to support Ukraine, we’ll share our latest updates here.
- The war has highlighted the critical role cybersecurity plays in warfare. In “Fog of War,” a report published by Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) with additional insights from Mandiant and Trust & Safety teams, we shared that Russian government-backed attacks targeting users in Ukraine increased 250% last year, while those targeting users in NATO countries increased by 300%. Meanwhile, more destructive cyber attacks in Ukraine were observed during the first four months of 2022 than in the previous eight years. Additionally, the report details Google’s work to interfere with these activities, including disrupting more than 1,950 instances of Russian information operations activity on our platforms last year. Read more about our efforts, insights and what we expect in the future.
- At the Munich Security Conference (MSC), we reflected on a year of cyber and information operations in Ukraine and beyond and shared our perspective on how transformational innovations enabled by AI could further efforts to promote digital security. Read more from Kent Walker, our President of Global Affairs, in this blog post about the critical need for a proactive digital agenda with governments, civil society and the private sector.
- The threat posed by coordinated disinformation operations remains persistent, and we have sought to confront it head-on. We’ve invested in a number of efforts to tackle the spread of and harms caused by mis- and disinformation. For example, we piloted Jigsaw’s “prebunking” campaign in Poland, Czechia and Slovakia, to preemptively fight against narratives scapegoating Ukrainian refugees. The initiative proved so effective that we announced at the MSC that we will expand it this year to Germany, in partnership with Moonshot and local experts. In addition, experts from the Google Safety Engineering Center in Dublin — Google’s regional hub of content responsibility specialists and engineers — conducted a series of Fighting Misinformation Online roundtables with local governments, NGOs and fact-checking organizations across Central and Eastern Europe. In several roundtable sessions and summits in the region, we shared Google and YouTube’s approach to mis- and disinformation, and learned real-time insights from over 100 local experts and organizations.
- At the same time, over the past year, YouTube teams have removed more than 9,000 channels and 85,000 videos related to the war for violating our Community Guidelines. Additionally, early in the war, we blocked YouTube channels associated with Russian state-funded news channels globally, resulting in more than 800 channels and 4 million videos blocked. Our breaking news and top news shelves on the YouTube homepage have received more than 170 million views in Ukraine, helping people stay connected and informed. And as the largest video-sharing platform in Russia, people continue to rely on YouTube for uncensored news and information.
- The war has significantly impacted the Ukrainian economy; we are working to help support Ukrainians maintain their livelihoods. The Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund helps entrepreneurs across Ukraine working in extraordinary circumstances to ensure that their businesses maintain liquidity, continue operations and incentivize further investment. Since launching the fund, many of the startups we supported have been able to expand to new markets, have raised follow-on funding, and have been recognized as creating the world’s top inventions, like Esper Bionics. More than 60 representatives from Ukrainian startups continue to work from the Google for Startups Campus in Warsaw, Poland, and we’re looking forward to gathering with many founders at our Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund Summit in Warsaw on March 30, helping them to build critical connections with international investors.
- The war has displaced millions, and we are doing our part to help. At our office in Warsaw, one of the nonprofits we’re supporting — Our Choice Foundation, which operates Ukrainian House — continues to work from one floor in our building. About 60 representatives from the organization use the space as a regular office where the team organizes all kinds of assistance for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland, including finding a place to stay, helping enroll kids in school, searching for a job, and registering for language courses.
- Google.org and Googlers have provided $45 million in funding for humanitarian aid as well as longer-term refugee support and recovery efforts. As part of this, we recently donated $1 million to Vostok, an organization in Ukraine that is helping respond to urgent needs including supplying food and hygiene products and assisting with the evacuation of immobile people. In addition, we’ve provided $7 million in donated Search advertising for humanitarian relief updates and to counter misinformation. We’ve also provided Google.org Fellowships to four organizations, which are already delivering critical support in the region: International Rescue Committee, Tech to the Rescue, NeedsList and East Europe Foundation. For example, a team of Google.org Fellows worked with the International Rescue Committee to expand the Googler-co-founded United for Ukraine platform, which has already reached 5 million people, as well as helping nearly 300,000 refugees access information to cross the border and matching 15,000 refugees with temporary accommodation.
- Finally, all of our 50,000 donated Chromebooks for schools have been delivered throughout Ukraine and an estimated 1.5 million students are using the devices for continuity of education (both online and offline). We’ve also extended free access to our premium Google Workspace for Education features for 250 universities and colleges until the end of August 2023. And we’re proud that 115,000 teachers have completed a series of trainings on Google Workspace, bringing us close to our 200,000 goal by May 2023.