Twitter has announced a new initiative to make it easier for the public to identify accounts linked to key government officials and state-controlled media organizations. The company said it would start adding appropriate labels to these types of accounts in order to provide more context to users.
When it comes to identifying government accounts for the new labels, Twitter will focus on "senior officials and entities who are the official voice of the state abroad". These include foreign ministers, institutional entities, ambassadors, official spokespeople, and key diplomatic leaders. It will start with accounts from the five permanent member countries of the UN Security Council: China, France, the Russian Federation, UK, and the U.S. The companyplans to expand these labels to government officials in more countries in the future. However, the new change won't apply to the personal accounts of heads of state, which Twitter says "enjoy widespread name recognition, media attention, and public awareness."
For state-affiliated media entities, the labels will apply to "outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution." Twitter adds that it will no longer promote these types of accounts or their tweets on its home timeline, notifications, and search. The company already bans ads from state-controlled media groups. Those that are funded by the state but have independent editorial policies such as the BBC and NPR are excluded, however.