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7 Apr 2023

James Titcomb, The Telegraph

Russia: Twitter lifts restrictions on govt. & state media accounts

Putin’s Twitter account resurfaces as Russia comes in from the cold, 7 April 2023

Twitter has removed restrictions on Kremlin-linked accounts in the wake of its acquisition by tech billionaire Elon Musk, a review of the website has found.

Tests from multiple accounts showed that Twitter’s search results, timeline and recommendation tools are showing users such as Vladimir Putin’s presidential account, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and its UK Embassy – all of which had restrictions placed on them when hostilities broke out.

It comes after it emerged that Twitter was no longer limiting the reach of Russian state media organisations...

Russian government tweets appeared in Twitter’s algorithmically-driven “For You” feed for a newly created account, even when it did not follow them.

A former Twitter executive confirmed that this marked a reversal from last year’s measures.

They said: “It would be exceedingly unlikely that this change would have happened accidentally, or without the knowledge and direction of the company's staff.”

Social media is seen as a key part of the Kremlin’s misinformation. Its UK embassy account has been condemned for claiming that Ukrainian forces are firing on their own citizens and saying that soldiers “deserve death by hanging”...

Last week it emerged that Twitter had loosened restrictions on Russian and Chinese state media accounts such as RT.com and the Global Times, introduced in 2020. Wenhao Ma, a reporter at the US-owned Voice of America broadcaster, found that he was being recommended posts from Beijing-funded media outlets. The site has also removed labels attached to the accounts urging users to “stay informed”...