Twitter is taking additional steps to address the potential for manipulation and election interference on its platform, stating that it has new labels specifically for media accounts belonging to states and governments. The labels provide context for users, according to Twitter, including on the accounts of those who are affiliated with the state media account, including people like editors-in-chief, senior staff, official spokespeople, and similar.
Social media is particularly vulnerable to meddling from state-sponsored actors who may operate with various intentions, such as interfering with an election, sowing discord among a popular, fueling the flames of an existing issue, spreading misinformation to muddy the waters, and similar things.
Facebook has been heavily criticized for the role its platform has played in election interference, for example, something it has taken steps to address. Twitter similarly had implemented rules and restrictions that limit the usefulness of its platform as a tool of manipulation. Last year, Twitter banned all political advertising from its platform, as well as all state-sponsored media ads.
This time around, Twitter says that it will label the government- and state-affiliated accounts that are allowed on its platform, but that should be highlighted for the sake of users who need context about media they see. The company details the types of accounts that will get labels; in addition to the ones mentioned above, it will also label accounts belonging to foreign ministers, ambassadors, ‘institutional entities,’ and ‘key diplomatic leaders.’
Twitter says it will be focusing on the more senior and authoritative ‘entities’ at this time, but indicates that it may expand the use of its label to others in less senior positions in the future. As stated, Twitter will also label state-affiliated media accounts.