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Twitter moves to label accounts from ‘state-affiliated media’

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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Twitter said it would start labeling accounts from “state-affiliated media” and take other steps to try to limit the spread of government-led influence campaigns.

The San Francisco-based social-media giant unveiled the new steps in a statement released August 6.

The company said it would add new labels to accounts and that it would also “no longer amplify” tweets from such accounts through its recommendation systems.

“Unlike independent media, state-affiliated media frequently use their news coverage as a means to advance a political agenda. We believe that people have the right to know when a media account is affiliated directly or indirectly with a state actor,” Twitter said.

Twitter’s announcement comes months after a similar move by Facebook, which began labeling content from media that are editorially controlled by governments.

Shortly after the announcement, Twitter accounts belonging to several Russian media organizations displayed the new labels. A label was affixed to the English-language Twitter account for RT, the Russian government-funded TV network formerly known as Russia Today, and a Russian-language label was affixed to the state-run news agency TASS.

The moves by two of the most prominent social-media companies in the world come amid concerns about campaigns by governments aimed at influencing elections and public sentiment in other countries through media outlets that allow them to disguise their origins or true ownership.