May 24, 2022

Twitter Traffic Slowdown Reinstated in Russia Over ‘Fake’ Ukraine Posts: Report

Russia’s state communications regulator said on Tuesday it had reinstated a slowdown of Twitter’s traffic on desktop computers due to what it said were fake posts about Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported.

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, which was already restricting traffic on mobile devices, said it had sent more than 1,700 requests to Twitter over more than 800 offending posts, and would only stop the slowdown once all content it deems illegal had been removed from the platform.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter on Monday said that it will put warnings on tweets sharing links to Russian state-affiliated media as Kremlin-tied outlets are accused of spreading misinformation on Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pressure is on social media giants to squelch misleading or false information about the attack, which has drawn fierce international condemnation.

Kremlin-run media outlets RT and Sputnik have both faced accusations of using false narratives in an effort to argue in favour of war.

Twitter’s head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, wrote that the platform has been seeing more than 45,000 tweets per day that are sharing links to state-affiliated media outlets.

“Our product should make it easy to understand who’s behind the content you see, and what their motivations and intentions are,” he added.

In addition to adding labels that identify the sources of links, Roth said the platform is also “taking steps to significantly reduce the circulation of this content on Twitter.”

The announcement came the day after Facebook’s parent Meta said pro-Russia groups were orchestrating misinformation campaigns on social media, using fake profiles or hacked accounts to paint Ukraine as a feeble pawn of Western duplicity.

The cyber security team at the tech giant – also parent to Instagram – said it blocked a set of Russia-linked fake accounts that were part of a social media scheme to undermine Ukraine.


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