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Twitter Will Label Tweets Linking To Russian State-Backed Media Like RT And Sputnik

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Topline

Twitter introduced Monday it’s going to label and restrict the attain of tweets linking to Russian state-affiliated information sources, hours after the European Union said it could ban Russian state-funded retailers RT and Sputnik, which the EU accused of spreading lies and justifying Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Key Info

The brand new label will solely encourage customers to “keep knowledgeable,” and seem on tweets that share data from Russian state-affiliated media accounts—however is not going to seem on tweets from these accounts as a result of they’re already labeled with “Russia state-affiliated media,” Twitter stated.

Tweets sharing Russian state media content material is not going to be beneficial by Twitter and will likely be blocked from showing on Twitter’s “Prime Search” operate.

Most Russian state media content material on Twitter is being unfold by means of particular person sharing and never immediately from these media retailers’ accounts, that means most individuals had been seeing that content material with out seen labels, Twitter stated.

Since Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine Thursday, greater than 45,000 tweets per day have been posted sharing hyperlinks to Russian state media, in line with Twitter.

Twitter stated it intends to use comparable measures to state media content material from different international locations within the coming weeks.

Key Background

In 2017, Twitter banned promoting from RT and Sputnik after U.S. intelligence concluded that each retailers tried to intrude with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In 2018, the platform extended this ban to all state information media promoting. In August 2020, Twitter started labeling and “de-amplifying” state-affiliated accounts from Russia, China, the U.Okay., the U.S. and another international locations. Within the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, each Twitter and Fb had been reportedly restricted in Russia after the Russian authorities denounced Fb’s fact-checking mechanisms as “censorship.” In addition to Sputnik and RT, two of essentially the most internationally identified Russian state media retailers, Fb has focused Russia’s RIA Novosti, Zvezda TV community, Gazeta.Ru and Lenta.ru. Friday, U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) asked Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, Google guardian Alphabet and different tech firms to do extra to restrict the unfold of Russian propaganda and to forestall Russian state-owned media firms from monetizing adverts together with content material associated to the warfare in Ukraine.

Essential Quote

“As this battle continues, we are able to count on to see an escalation in Russia’s use of each overt and covert means to sow confusion concerning the battle and promote disinformation narratives that weaken the worldwide response to those unlawful acts,” Warner stated.

Contra

Starting in Could 2020, Twitter has added warning labels to posts together with “disputed or deceptive” claims about Covid-19—together with, through the election, to posts by President Donald Trump. (Twitter finally banned Trump “because of the danger of additional incitement of violence” following the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots.) Twitter has but to implement an analogous system for posts concerning the Ukraine disaster.

Tangent

Although Twitter labels accounts for information retailers the place the state exerts direct or oblique editorial affect, state-funded retailers Twitter regards as editorially impartial, equivalent to NPR or the BBC, will not be labeled.

Additional Studying

“U.S. Senator Mark Warner Urges Tech Companies To Fight Russian Propaganda In Ukraine—Russian Officials Punish Those That Do” (Forbes)

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