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Twitter will reduce the circulation of BelTa and other publications of Belarusian state media

A Twitter logo is seen outside the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, California, U.S., January 11, 2021. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/Files

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OAKLAND, Calif., March 10 (Reuters) – Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) will place labels and limit the circulation of Belarusian state media publications and their senior executives, the company said on Thursday, in a bid to combat misinformation. of Russia’s ally in its invasion of Ukraine.

Social media services, including Twitter, have in recent years begun tagging the accounts of state broadcasters and news websites to note that organizations are government-backed. Tagged accounts and their posts are restricted in search results and recommendations on Twitter. Read more

Yoel Roth, Twitter’s site integrity manager, told reporters that the company would label about 15 Belarusian outlets, the largest of them being the BelTa news agency, which has nearly 37,000 followers. on service.

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“We have seen evidence that these outlets and their affiliates in Russia have engaged in information warfare and are using outlets and other assets they control to spread favorable narratives and to confuse and distract the public. about what’s going on,” Roth said.

Also covered are broadcaster Belteleradio and radio stations sharing “editorial points” developed by the government, he said.

BelTa and Belteleradio did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Belarus was one of Russia’s launching pads for its invasion of Ukraine last month. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.

Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko told his defense ministry on Thursday that he must prevent any attempts to cut Russian supply lines and “hit the Russians from behind”, according to BelTa. Read more

Twitter’s policy is to only label state-affiliated media “when the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressure, and/or control over production and distribution”.

It had labeled media in over 20 major countries, with plans for global expansion. Belarus was prioritized “given the context of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” Roth said.

Government and trade restrictions on Belarus are increasing.

Last week, the European Union effectively banned 70% of all imports from Belarus, and American Express (AXP.N) and Dassault Systemes (DAST.PA) are among the companies suspending operations there.

World Athletics has banned Belarus from hosting events after previously banning its athletes. Read more

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Reporting by Paresh Dave and Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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