France

Cuban media denounce their labeling by Twitter – RT in French

The American company has decided to attach the mention “affiliated with the government” to a series of Cuban public media. They protested against a measure that will make them less visible on the network, while they offer another point of view.

Twitter opted to label the accounts of several major Cuban media outlets as “government affiliated” on Oct. 24, prompting protests from a news portal and a leader in the country. Official media accounts such as daily newspapers grandma, La Habana Grandstand Where Juventud Rebeldethe Cuban news agency Agencia Cubana de Noticias or the Cubadebate portal have thus been labeled “media affiliated with the government” by the platform.

“Twitter labels in a pejorative way the media that do not support the imperialist discourse”, denounced the director of Cubadebate, Randy Alonso Falcó, according to whom “we must not forget that this social network acts in concert with the CIA, MI6 [son équivalent britannique] and the State Department.

Cubadebate denounced in an article by Patricia Maria Soriano a measure that “censors and stigmatizes the country’s public media” and “affects the recipients and potential readers of tweets from labeled media”, while pointing out the collective nature of the measure, which does not distinguish “public media financed by trade union or political organizations from state public media”. The same article notes that “the methodology used by Twitter to set up ‘government-affiliated media’ is discretionary, with no explanation as to why it labels some of the world’s government media in this way. [et] not all (or most) state or government media”.

This is “new evidence of the ‘manipulation’ of algorithms to make some media less visible than others”, tweeted for his part. Rogelio Polanco Fuenteshead of the ideology department of the Communist Party of Cuba.

An opaque labeling policy

Twitter undertook in August 2020 to affix this mention “affiliated with the government” when the network considers – without having to report or provide evidence – that the State concerned “exercises control over the editorial content”, the retaining for RT or the Chinese media CCTV, but not attaching it to public media accounts such as France 24 or the BBC. Twitter had assumed, in presenting its policy in this area, to limit the scope of media thus labeled compared to all other accounts. The mention had even been attached to media, such as the French monthly Ruptures, for no apparent reason.

In the wake of the outbreak of the Russian offensive in Ukraine at the end of February and the decision of the European Union to ban the broadcasting of RT France at the beginning of March 2022, the platform had decided to attach the mention “media affiliated with Russia to a series of personal accounts of media journalists. The decision had been vigorously denounced as “a filing and a display” synonymous with “particularly serious stigma” by an inter-union press release.

In addition, the label had also been “awarded” to former employees, without them being able to obtain explanations or file an appeal with Twitter. A former reporter for RT France, Jonathan Moadab, who had been reported by Twitter, had reported on March 3 that he had however obtained the deletion of this mention, after an intervention by the then Secretary of State for Digital, Cédric O, with of the social network.



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