With Twitter Inc coming under heavy scrutiny for it’s approach towards prominent figures and governments, the social media giant said on Thursday it will add labels to identify more state-affiliated accounts, including world leaders’ personal accounts, to give users more context for geopolitical conversations on the platform.
Twitter was criticised for banning the account of former US President Donald Trump and for it’s stance in regions such as India and Myanmar which currently facing political firestorms.
In August, Twitter said it would start labelling the accounts of state-affiliated media outlets such as Russia’s Sputnik and China’s Xinhua News and of 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.
Twitter said in a blog post that it was expanding its labels to key government officials and institutions that were “the voice of the nation state abroad” from G7 countries and a majority of countries where Twitter has identified what it deems state-linked information operations.
Twitter has shared mock-ups of the labels which said “US Government organization” or “US Government official.”
Twitter’s global public policy director, Nick Pickles, said the company was not labelling countries where government was in dispute.
“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 said in an interview.
The labels will only be added to verified accounts, Pickles said. For example, in Iran that would mean that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would not currently get a label because he is not verified, though the foreign minister would.
The new countries where senior officials and institutions will be labeled are: Canada, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
Twitter will also label the personal accounts of heads of state from these countries and the U.N. Security Council permanent members, citing the use of these accounts for diplomacy.
Pickles said the way Twitter enforced its rules on accounts would not be based on these labels.