Twitter to label state-controlled news accounts

Twitter labels on a sample government account

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Twitter will tag state-controlled media and official government accounts

Twitter says it will no longer “amplify” tweets from state-controlled media organizations, excluding them from its referral systems.

The move reduces the likelihood of affected accounts showing up in a user’s search results, notifications, and timeline.

The company will also label government-related media reports as well as “key government officials” from China, France, Russia, the UK and the US.

Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua News will both be affected by the change.

Twitter said it takes action to give people a broader context on what they see on the social network.

Other social platforms, including video-sharing giant YouTube, already tag channels from state-backed media organizations.

State-supported media

Twitter will label media organizations “where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, political pressure, or control over production and distribution.”

Editors and senior staff will also have their accounts labeled.

However, publicly funded news outlets with editorial independence will not be labeled, including the BBC and the US network NPR.

Voices of the government

Twitter says it will tag key government officials, including foreign ministers, institutions, ambassadors and spokespersons, and women of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“Our focus is on senior officials and entities who are the voice of the nation state overseas,” Twitter said.

However, politicians’ personal accounts will not always be labeled.

For example, President Trump’s popular Twitter account @realDonaldTrump will not be tagged, while his official @Potus account will be identified.

Explaining the decision, Twitter said personal accounts “enjoy widespread name recognition, media attention and public awareness.”

Twitter said it will expand the list of tagged accounts and include other countries over time.

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