Twitter adds labels to state-controlled media outlets like China Daily and Sputnik in a bid to combat foreign influence and misinformation on its platform
- Twitter announced it is adding labels to state-controlled media outlets
- Labels are applied to accounts from the countries of the UN Security Council
- This includes China, France, Russian Federation, the UK and the US
- Similar labels have also been added to certain government officials
The social media firm defined state-affiliated media as those where the state exercises editorial control through financial resources or political pressure or control over production and distribution.
Labels are applied to accounts from the countries represented in the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russian Federation, the UK and the US – but no America-based outlets have been tagged.
The feature has also been placed on accounts of key government officials, who are deemed the official voice of the state board.
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Twitter has labeled accounts of state-controlled media outlets such as China Daily, Russia Today and Sputnik
The new feature, according to the firm, is its way to ‘to protect that discourse because we believe political reach should be earned not bought.’
‘We believe that people have the right to know when a media account is affiliated directly or indirectly with a state actor,’ Twitter said the Thursday announcement.
The label appears in a faint gray text directly under the account’s handle and describes what the account is, such as ‘Russia state-affiliated media’ or ‘US government account’ for example.
Twitter noted that media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US, will not be labeled.
The feature has also been placed on accounts of key government officials, who are deemed the official voice of the state board
To determine which accounts receive a label, Twitter has teamed up with outside consulting experts, including Digital and Human Rights Advisory group.
This group is also part of Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council.
State-affiliated media outlets will no longer have access to promotions on Twitter’s timeline, in notifications or search, but the ban does not apply to government officials.
The new labeling feature comes as social media sites are coming under fire for letting foreign influence and disinformation run wild on their platforms.
Twitter temporarily blocked the Trump campaign Wednesday after it shared a video of the president discussing ‘misinformation’ about the coronavirus and Facebook pulled the video from its site.
The campaign tweeted a video, which has since been removed from Twitter and Facebook, of President Donald Trump giving a Fox News interview in which he falsely claimed children were ‘almost immune’ to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The label appears in a faint gray text directly under the account’s handle and describes what the account is, such as ‘China state-affiliated media’ or ‘US government account’ for example
‘The Tweet you referenced is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation,’ the representative said. ‘The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.’
‘The President was stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus,’ Trump’s deputy national press secretary Courtney Parella said in an emailed statement.
However, growing research suggests that children can transmit the virus, but may be more asymptomatic which is why they have not been accounted for.
Facebook followed in Twitter’s path and pulled the video completely.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Facebook said the president’s post was removed for violating the social media platform’s ‘policies around harmful COVID misinformation’.