Twitter has announced that it has started the labelling process of accounts of government officials and state-affiliated media.
The government officials will include foreign ministers, institutional entities, ambassadors, official spokespeople, and key diplomatic leaders. State-affiliated media will include their editors-in-chief, and/or their senior staff.
In a blog post, Twitter has said “For transparency and practicality, we are starting with a limited and clearly-defined group of countries before expanding to a wider range of countries in the future. 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.”
As of now, labels will only be applied to accounts from the countries represented in the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Twitter also said, “State-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US for example, will not be labeled.” Twitter is not labelling the personal accounts of heads of state, as these accounts enjoy widespread name recognition, media attention, and public awareness. Institutional accounts associated with their offices that changeover depending on election results will be labeled, however.
As part of the development of this process, Twitter consulted with a number of expert groups, including members of the Digital and Human Rights Advisory group in Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council.