Twitter labels RT & Sputnik but NOT BBC, NPR & VOA as it launches blitz on state media staff & govt officials
The microblogging platform announced it will label accounts belonging to key government officials in countries on the UN Security Council, as well as accounts belonging to state-linked media outlets, their editors-in-chief and senior staff.
In a Thursday blog post, it warned it will no longer show tweets from state-linked media accounts on the home screen, notifications, or search.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Twitter left a sizable loophole for the US and friendly nations, explaining that “state-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US for example, will not be labeled.”
When it comes to conversations with government and state-affiliated media accounts on Twitter, we’re helping to make the experience more transparent.We'll now use two distinct profile labels for these types of accounts, so you can easily identify them and their Tweets. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/JW67o422MO— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) August 6, 2020
“We believe this is an important step so that when people see an account discussing geopolitical issues from another country, they have context on its national affiliation and are better informed about who they represent,” Twitter explained in the post, adding that it would not be labeling government officials’ personal accounts - just those associated with their offices.
For clarity: we don't let state-affiliated media accounts advertise on Twitter. We’ll also no longer include them or their Tweets in recommendations, as we continue to support a free and independent press.More on this policy and new labels: https://t.co/BY1jTO46Zc (2/2)— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) August 6, 2020
Betraying a shockingly dim understanding of American media, Twitter explained that “unlike independent media, state-affiliated media frequently use their news coverage as a means to advance a political agenda.”
Perhaps attempting to fend off discrimination lawsuits, they added that the move had come after consultation with “a number of expert groups, including members of the Digital and Human Rights Advisory Group in Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council.”
That group includes notoriously censor-happy entities like the Anti-Defamation League, the Dangerous Speech Project, and Feminist Frequency.Also on rt.com ‘We want to delete more!’ Facebook must choose freedom of speech over censorship, if it still pretends to be ‘a platform’
Clicking on the new labels takes the viewer to a page explaining the policy, which hints it “will be expanded to include additional countries in the future.” The page refers to them as “election labels,” suggesting the policy is a response to ongoing baseless claims that Russian social media manipulation was responsible for President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory. With the November election less than 100 days away, social media platforms are scrambling to censor non-approved views, especially those they can link to un-American activities.
A Twitter spokesman declined to provide a full list of entities to be censored to Reuters, but mentioned RT, Sputnik, and Xinhua News by name. Facebook recently adopted a similar policy, complete with double standard for US and friendly state-controlled media organizations.
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