Twitter is making it easier to identify personal accounts of heads of state

Back in August 2020, Twitter introduced new labels to make it easier for users to quickly identify state-affiliated media accounts as well as those belonging to certain government officials. After receiving feedback from stakeholders, the company will now be adding these labels to accounts held by key officials from all Group of Seven (G7) countries and those which have previously participated in "information operations".

Example graphic of a dummy account being labeled by Twitter

The plan to accomplish this task has been divided into two stages. Phase one actually began in August 2020 when Twitter starting applying labels to accounts China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States. The second phase will begin from February 17 when these labels will be iteratively expanded to accounts held by officials from Canada, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Twitter stated that:

Our mission is to serve the public conversation and an important part of that work is providing people with context so they can make informed decisions about what they see and how they engage on Twitter. Twitter provides an unmatched way to connect with and directly speak to public officials and representatives

Our focus is on senior officials, heads of state, and institutions that are the voice of the nation state abroad, specifically the account categories listed above. We believe this is an important step so that when people see an account discussing geopolitical issues from another country, they have context on its national affiliation, and are better informed about who they represent. We’re also focused on those within the respective administrations underneath the head of state that offer its policy perspective abroad.

Labels will primarily be applied to verified accounts of senior government officials and central political leaders. Lastly, they will also be visible on the personal accounts of all heads of states of the aforementioned countries. This effort is being undertaken so that the public has better context when viewing content from key state-affiliated accounts and engaging with them.

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