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Twitter adds labels for government officials and state-controlled media

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Twitter is introducing new labels for accounts and tweets tied to government officials and “state-affiliated media.”

Twitter provides an unmatched way to connect with, and directly speak to public officials and representatives,” the company wrote in the blog post announcing these changes. “This direct line of communication with leaders and officials has helped to democratize political discourse and increase transparency and accountability.”

However, Twitter suggested that these labels are part of a larger effort “to protect that discourse because we believe political reach should be earned not bought.”

When it comes to labeling government officials, the company said it’s focusing on those who represent “the official voice of the state abroad,” including “foreign ministers, institutional entities, ambassadors, official spokespeople, and key diplomatic leaders.” It’s starting with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, with plans to add other countries in the future.

Twitter said these labels will not apply to “the personal accounts of heads of state,” because “these accounts enjoy widespread name recognition, media attention, and public awareness.” For example: President Donald Trump’s Twitter account has not been labeled, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s account has.

Twitter label screenshot

Image Credits: Twitter

As for state-affiliated media, Twitter said that media organizations that maintain editorial independence despite government financing, such as the BBC and NPR, will not labeled.

Instead, the label will be reserved for “outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution” — for example, Russia-backed RT. To identify these outlets, the company says it’s consulting outside experts, including members of its Digital and Human Rights Advisory group (part of Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council).

Facebook introduced a similar label in June.

Twitter also said state-affiliated media will no longer receive promotion via the service’s home timeline, notifications and search. (This limitation does not apply to government officials.) The service had already blocked these groups from purchasing advertising after an incident last year in which China’s state news agency bought promoted tweets to portray pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as violent.

TechCrunch

NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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