Twitter has announced it would not amplify tweets by state-controlled media outlets and label the accounts of government-linked media, as well as key government officials from the five permanent member countries of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, the UK and the US.
The micro-blogging platform said the new labeling policy would include accounts of key government officials, including foreign ministers, institutional entities, ambassadors, official spokespeople, and key diplomatic leaders from these five countries.
“At this time, our focus is on senior officials and entities who are the official voice of the state abroad,” the company said in a statement late on Thursday.
The move will make affected accounts less likely to appear in search results or notifications.
Twitter will also label accounts belonging to state-affiliated media entities, their editors and their senior staff.
The move will impact state-controlled media organisations like Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua news agency.
In 2019, Twitter banned all state-backed media advertising and political advertising from Twitter.
“For transparency and practicality, we are starting with a limited and clearly-defined group of countries before expanding to a wider range of countries in the future,” said Twitter.
The company said that at this time, they are not labeling the personal accounts of heads of state, as these accounts enjoy widespread name recognition, media attention, and public awareness.
“Institutional accounts associated with their offices that changeover depending on election results will be labeled, however”.
However, state-financed media organisations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US for example, will not be labeled.
“We will also no longer amplify state-affiliated media accounts or their Tweets through our recommendation systems including on the home timeline, notifications, and search,” Twitter announced.
Twitter will notify any account that’s labeled and if the “account owner believes we’ve made a mistake, they can reach out to us directly”.