As Twitter rolled out fleets to MENA users, the company has been working on combatting manipualtive practices.
The platform has been a very active place when it comes to politics worldwide (global, regional, or local), but prone to many using it for bad purposes. The company has been working to make things more transparent to their users due to some abusing it for malicious purposes.
Since August 2020, Twitter began labelling political accounts in US and UK with special labels to ensure clarity on the affiliation and ownership. If you’ve seen accounts of POTUS and VP, you’ll see a special label underneath their name.
The project is now expanding to more countries worldwide, including few in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Public disclosure of state-affiliated accounts
If you’re wondering which accounts would be getting these labels (government official/organization), they should overlap with the following criteria.
- Verified accounts of key government officials (e.g. foreign ministers, institutional entities, ambassadoes, key diplomatic leaders, official spokespersons)
- Personal accounts of heads of state (e.g Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc.)
Countries in the MENA region that will see the labels show up on their accounts include: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran.
if you’re wondering why it has included these countries, Twitter has attributed it to state-linked information operations. A recent blog entry in October 2020 cited accounts attributed to Iran and Saudi Arabia for platform manipulation were suspended.
As the labels curently show up in few other languages including English, expect to see the labels show up in Arabic given the prominent use of the language in the region. Future plans include accounts belonging to state-affiliated media entities, inc. editors-in-chief and/or their senior staff.
When will this expand to more countries in the MENA region? That’s up to Twitter to decide the next phase of the rollout.
Image credit: Twitter Support account