Twitter is Now Flagging Russian State Propaganda

Twitter hopes to keep track of Russian misinformation while YouTube and Facebook try to demonetize the invader

Although Twitter has long been one of Russia’s favorite outlets for disseminating propaganda, in the wake of the Ukrainian invasion the social media monolith announced Monday that it will start labeling posts that originate from Russian state media sites.

“Today, we’re adding labels to Tweets that share links to Russian state-affiliated media websites and are taking steps to significantly reduce the circulation of this content on Twitter,” Yoel Roth, the company’s Head of Site Integrity tweeted Monday.

Aside from marking postings that originate from Russian state-affiliated websites with a small exclamation point in an orange circle, Twitter says it will also stop placing such tweets in its “Top Search” recommendations, the Washington Post reports.

Although Twitter has been marking Russian-state posts for special scrutiny at least since the height of the last U.S. Presidential election in August, 2020, because much of the Putin-backed misinformation comes from individuals rather than official state accounts, the company is casting a wider net, it said—claiming to have recorded more than 45,000 such tweets each day since the invasion began last week.

“As people look for credible information on Twitter regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we understand and take our role seriously,” Roth also tweeted Monday. “Our product should make it easy to understand who’s behind the content you see, and what their motivations and intentions are.”

Over the weekend, Twitter and Facebook both removed what the companies say they identified as “covert influence operations,” one tied to Russia and another with connections to Belarus, NBC News reports.

Additionally, Twitter, Facebook, and Google all announced that they will no longer allow Russian state media to run ads on the platforms.

Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy at Facebook, tweeted on Friday: “We are now prohibiting Russian state media from running ads or monetizing on our platform anywhere in the world.”

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