Meta Commits to Labelling Government-Affiliated Media Accounts in Australian Inquiry

Meta Commits to Labelling Government-Affiliated Media Accounts in Australian Inquiry

Meta Commits to Labelling Government-Affiliated Media Accounts in Australian Inquiry

During an Australian inquiry on foreign interference, Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, revealed its plans to introduce labels for government-affiliated accounts on its newly launched Twitter-like platform, Threads.

Josh Machin, Meta’s head of public policy for Australia, stated that areas such as labels for state-affiliated media and fact-checking are areas of significant value, and Meta aims to develop them rapidly. The move comes just days after the launch of Threads, which is considered a competitor to Twitter.
Twitter had removed tags from government-affiliated accounts since going private under Elon Musk’s ownership in 2022. This action had raised concerns about its impact on users’ media literacy.

Meta Commits to Labelling Government-Affiliated Media Accounts in Australian Inquiry

When asked if government-affiliated accounts like Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua News Agency would be labeled on Threads, Machin responded that it was their aspiration to do so. He added that if any state-affiliated media violated their policies, Meta would remove them. Expanding the functionality of tags and labels is a priority for Meta as they continue to develop the product.

Meta Commits to Labelling Government-Affiliated Media Accounts in Australian Inquiry

On Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s existing platforms, RT and Xinhua accounts already have labels indicating that they are state-controlled media from Russia and China, respectively. However, Reuters found that RT’s Threads account did not have a label, and Xinhua did not appear to have a Threads account.
During the inquiry, Australian senator James Paterson expressed concern about Twitter’s removal of foreign government affiliation tags, citing transparency issues. Twitter declined to comment, and its executives were scheduled to appear at the inquiry later.

Regarding another topic discussed during the inquiry, Meta expressed concerns about an Australian proposal to grant the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) powers to regulate and penalize social media companies for enabling the spread of disinformation and misinformation. Machin stated that while Meta supports giving ACMA the power to enforce an existing industry code of conduct that targets false content, the draft legislation goes beyond that scope. Meta worries that the proposed powers could be abused or used to restrict legitimate free expression online.

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