Twitter removes government-related account labels


The official Twitter account of Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, displayed on a mobile phone screen photographed for the illustrative photo. Krakow, Poland, January 30, 2023.

Beata Zawrzel | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Twitter, owned by Elon Musk, has quietly dropped labeling that identified state-affiliated and government-funded accounts for public officials and the media, including designations used to identify President Joe Biden’s account as genuine .

The update comes a day after the company purged former verified users of their blue ticks, raising fears misinformation could more easily spread on the site.

As of Friday morning, the personal and official accounts of the US President, First Lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris no longer displayed labels identifying them as government officials.

Labels have also been removed from media and journalists affiliated with Russia and China, including the official account of the Russian president, which has not been used since the country’s invasion of Ukraine. last year.

The labels of government officials and state-affiliated media were introduced in 2020 as part of an effort to protect political speech on the platform.

Friday’s change also saw the removal of controversial tags added to media accounts earlier this month.

Musk’s Twitter had marked the accounts of several outlets, including NPR, the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., as “state-affiliated.” The designation alarmed outlet executives and reporters.

In response to these labels, NPR announced that it would stop using Twitter in an official capacity to broadcast news stories.

The BBC is funded by a nationally imposed television license but does not meet the conventional definition of ‘state-affiliated media’. This moniker is usually reserved for outlets like Russia Today, which receives funding from the Russian government and has been described by the US State Department as a propaganda outlet.

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