October 4, 2022
Russia-Ukraine war: Twitter will label and limit Belarus state media posts to curb misinformation

Twitter will try and limit the spread of posts from Belarus state media and their senior employees, the company said Thursday in a move aimed at preventing misinformation from Russia’s ally in its invasion of Ukraine.

In recent years social media services, including Twitter, have begun to label the accounts of state broadcasters and news websites to note that the organizations are government-backed. Labeled accounts and their posts are limited in search results and recommendations on Twitter.

Twitter’s head of site integrity, Joel Roth, told reporters that the company would label about 15 Belurasian outlets, the largest of them being the news agency BelTa, which has about 37,000 followers on the service.

“We have seen evidence that these outlets in Russia, as well as their allies, are engaged in information warfare, and are employing media and other assets they control to propagate favorable narratives and to mislead and mislead the public. To distract what’s going on,” Roth said.

Also included are radio stations sharing an “editorial point” developed by broadcaster Belteleradio and the government, he said. BelTa and Belteleradio did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Belarus served as one of Russia’s launchpads for the invasion of Ukraine last month. Russia called its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.

Belarus’ leader, Alexander Lukashenko, told his defense ministry on Thursday that it should stop any attempts to cut off Russian supply lines and “attack the Russians from behind”, according to BelTa.

Twitter’s policy is to label state-affiliated media only “where the state exerts control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressure, and/or controls the production and distribution.”

It had labeled media from more than 20 major countries with plans to expand globally. “Belarus was given priority in the context of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” Roth said. Government and trade sanctions on Belarus are multiplying.

The European Union last week effectively banned 70 percent of all imports from Belarus, and American Express and Dassault Systems are among companies to suspend business there.

World Athletics previously banned Belarus from hosting competitions after its athletes were banned.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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