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Opinion | Ukraine Made Big Tech Pick a Side — But Who Are the Losers?

Technology defines nearly every facet of our modern world. It almost feels that to exist today in the Western world, one has no choice but to engage in it. As a result, Big Tech holds an incredible amount of power — power that continues to play a role in the Russia-Ukraine war.

As the war has intensified, tech companies have been forced to take a side. It’s become what the Times reporters Adam Satariano and Sheera Frenkel described as a “defining geopolitical moment for some of the world’s biggest tech companies.” Spotify decided last Friday to suspend its services in Russia because of recently enacted Russian legislation that restricts access to news. Apple Pay also suspended services for Russia’s Mir cards, the country’s largest card payment system.

[You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple, Spotify or Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

It’s clear Big Tech companies hold big power. But should they? And do their moves in Russia highlight that they have too much influence in some countries? Is it time to finally reconsider tech regulation, and if so, who should be responsible for determining regulation?

This week, Jane Coaston brings together two writers who spend their time reporting on the role technology plays in our lives. Charlie Warzel is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and writes the newsletter “Galaxy Brain,” about tech, media and politics. Robby Soave is a senior editor at the libertarian magazine “Reason” and is the author of the book “Tech Panic: Why We Shouldn’t Fear Facebook and the Future.”

Mentioned in this episode:

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

Thoughts? Email us at argument@nytimes.com or leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. (We may use excerpts from your message in a future episode.)

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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Anabel Bacon and Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; engineering by Carole Sabouraud; and audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

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