Twitter’s decision to target Russian and Chinese media by limiting their ability to deliver content to the platform’s users comes as part of an apparent broader effort by Western social media to censor points of views that are different from the mainstream agenda.
Media outlets should be treated in an equal manner and not on a case-by-case basis if they comply with the laws and regulations of the countries they operate in, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Russia said regarding the recent actions of Twitter. On 6 August, the social media platform flagged numerous Russian and Chinese media outlets, including Sputnik, as “state-affiliated”, limiting their ability to promote and amplify tweets.
The Chinese Embassy stressed the importance of the media as a crucial link uniting countries around the world and condemned the actions preventing them from properly functioning. It pointed out that Twitter had pledged to mark all media outlets in one way or another controlled by the governments of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, but has in fact so far only targeted those based in Russia and China.
Double Standards in Twitter’s ‘Affiliation’ Marks
Twitter claims to have introduced the “state-affiliated” label for the sake of “transparency and practicality”, but has shown little transparency itself in explaining why media outlets from only two of the aforementioned five countries have been slapped with the new status, hindering these outlets’ capabilities compared to others and essentially censoring them.
The social media platform said that some media outlets, such as the UK’s BBC or the US’ National Public Radio (NPR), would be exempt from the rule despite being funded and sometimes even established by these countries’ respective governments. Twitter claimed that only outlets whose agendas are not influenced by their governments would be eligible for the waiver, but somehow all major Western mainstream media were spared from the platform’s censorship, despite often falling in line with their governments’ political stances. The social media platform failed to respond to Sputnik’s inquiry into why only media outlets from two countries have been affected by the feature.
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