Twitter bans advertising from state-run media after disinformation about Hong Kong

By Lydia Dishman

Leadership at Twitter stated today that they want to “protect healthy discourse and open conversation.” To that end, they are no longer accepting advertising from state-controlled news media entities. This comes on the heels their discovery of 936 accounts inside China that were “deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground.”

Twitter said it will make decisions as to which organizations fall into this category “on the basis of critical issues of media freedom and independence, such as control of editorial content, financial ownership, influence or interference over broadcasters, editors, and journalists, direct and indirect exertion of political pressure, and/or control over the production and distribution process.” That exempts outlets such as NPR, BBC, and the Associated Press. Entertainment, sports, and travel content also aren’t included, but should those sites ever contain news, it will be prohibited.

These accounts have 30 days before they are banned from advertising, however, they will be able to use Twitter for public conversations.

State media like Russia Today and Sputnik have been responsible for spreading propaganda as part of the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 election. Google deranked their news stories in 2017 and Twitter banned both during that time as well.


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