Twitter to add more labels identifying world leader and government accounts
On Thursday, Twitter Inc announced that next week it will add labels to identify more world leaders and state-affiliated accounts. This will give users more context for geopolitical conversations on the platform.
This announcement came at a time when Twitter’s approach towards prominent figures and government came under scrutiny after it banned former U.S. President Donald Trump’s account and as political firestorms are burning in Myanmar and India.
Last year in August, the site said that it would start labeling state-affiliated media outlets accounts, like Russia’s Sputnik and China’s Xinhua News. It also said that it would label some key government officials for the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, are the members of UNSC.
In a blog post the microblogging site said that it will increase its labels to key government officials and institutions that were “the voice of the nation state abroad” from G7 countries. It will also expand in majority of countries where Twitter has identified what it deems state-linked information operations.
Twitter shared some mock-ups of the labels, which said “US Government organization” or “US Government official.”
The company was asked how it will determine government labels in situations such as Myanmar where the military recently seized power in a coup. To this Twitter’s global public policy director, Nick Pickles, replied “The Company was not labeling countries where government was in dispute.”
He said, “We will take into account the international discussion about legitimacy of the government when we are considering if it’s appropriate to apply these labels.”
Pickles clarified and said that the labels will only be added to verified accounts.
For example, currently the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran would not get a label because he is not verified, but the foreign minister would.
Canada, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, are the news countries where the senior officials and institutions will be labeled.