June 24, 2022

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Twitter Will Stiffen Moderation Policies in Response to Ukraine War

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In response to censorship by Moscow and provocative posts about the war in Ukraine, Twitter detailed new policies on Tuesday that it said would reduce amplification of Russian government accounts and ban some tweets containing images of prisoners of war.

Twitter, like other companies, is updating its content moderation policies for war, and the changes escalate its existing policies for posts from state-affiliated media. They also show how the company is trying to walk a line between supporting important documentation of events in the conflict and exploitation.

Twitter said it would stop amplifying government accounts from countries that “limit access to the open internet while they’re engaged in armed conflict,” Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity, said in a press call on Monday. In practice, the policy applies only to Russian government accounts, which will no longer be recommended on Twitter’s home timeline, explore page or search results.

Russia has throttled access to Twitter, meaning that pages load slower for users in that country and in some cases don’t load at all. Mr. Roth said the policy would apply to any wartime country that placed restrictions on the internet, whether Twitter was blocked or not.

“When we find a government that is engaged in armed conflict is blocking or limiting access to online services within their country while they themselves continue to use those same services to advance their position and viewpoint, that creates a harmful information imbalance,” he said.

Twitter will stop amplifying state-run accounts rather than ban them, Mr. Roth said. Existing steps to stop amplifying state-affiliated media content — such as the government-funded Russia Today — have led to a 30 percent decline in the number of views of state media, he said.

Twitter also said it would require the removal of any tweets posted by state or government accounts that included video or images of prisoners of war. Similar tweets by nonstate…

Erin Woo

2022-04-05 12:00:10

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