Twitter has announced it will start displaying labels for accounts from state-affiliated media. The move provides transparency on information shared by government-regulated accounts.
“When it comes to conversations with government and state-affiliated media accounts on Twitter, we’re helping to make the experience more transparent. We’ll now use two distinct profile labels for these types of accounts, so you can easily identify them and their Tweets,” Twitter said in the post.
The image above shows two variants: government account, for officials who represent governments; and state-affiliated media, for media entities controlled by a government.
Here are the qualifications:
- The government account label is for the accounts of key government officials. It includes institutional entities, foreign ministers, official spokespeople, ambassadors, and key diplomatic leaders. This label will be specific to senior officials and entities who are the official voice of the state abroad.
- The state-affiliated media label is for the accounts of state-affiliated media entities, their editors-in-chief, and/or their senior staff.
The state-affiliated media label will possibly have the most influence. For example, many users are unaware that their news sources are state-controlled. These entities have limits on what they can share. And they have a duty to promote their nation’s interests in a positive light.
Having a state-affiliated media label on their profiles and tweets may trigger people to consider if they want to share content from these providers. It opens questions on what the motives are behind the news content that they share.
Facebook introduced in June similar labels. The social network ramped up efforts to increase transparency ahead of the US Presidential Election.
Twitter also added in 2018 some labels for political candidates and elected officials in the US. It updated these labels last year.
Most people get some of their news coverage from social media. And state-affiliated entities have a history of using social platforms to control narratives. The labels could improve digital media literacy and make users question the motivations behind the posts.
Twitter says it will exclude state-affiliated media accounts or their tweets in recommendations. It includes the home timeline, notifications, and search. Twitter says this is part of its continuous effort to support free and independent press.
Twitter will start to add the new labels to a specific group of countries. Then it will expand to a wider range of individuals and organizations.