Putin's Twitter profile restricted in website's crackdown on Kremlin accounts

6 April 2022, 15:13

Putin's Twitter profile is one of many that has been restricted by the social media site
Putin's Twitter profile is one of many that has been restricted by the social media site. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Twitter has limited content from hundreds of accounts affiliated with the Kremlin, including that of President Putin.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The social media site said over 300 official government accounts will no longer be recommended to users, such as in timelines or as notifications.

The algorithm will also no longer promote the accounts, the company added.

As well as Putin's two profiles - one in English and one in Russian - the restrictions also apply to official ministry and embassy accounts, as well as those of high-ranking Russian officials.

In a blog post, Twitter said the move was to "address the harmful dynamics" of a county limiting access to a site whilst posting freely on it.

Read more: 'Butcher of Bucha' behind 'inhuman' war crimes was 'blessed by the Orthodox Church'

Read more: 'It's embarrassing': Govt was 'not geared up' for Ukraine refugee crisis, minister says

Yoel Roth, Head of Site Integrity at Twitter, said the company's aim was to "remediate abuse at scale and be transparent" and that the move would reduce the chances of people seeing posts from Kremlin-affiliated accounts unless they followed them.

"Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our aim has been to remediate abuse at scale and be transparent about our work to protect the conversation happening on Twitter," he said.

"Starting today, we will not amplify or recommend government accounts belonging to states that limit access to free information and are engaged in armed interstate conflict – whether Twitter is blocked in that country or not.

"What does this mean?

"We won’t recommend these accounts, and we won't amplify them across the Home Timeline, Explore, Search, and in other places on Twitter.

"This measure drastically reduces the chance that people on Twitter see Tweets from these accounts unless they follow them."

Twitter has been extremely limited in Russia since the war in Ukraine began.

Whilst it is not banned, it has been slowed down to the point where it is virtually unusable - but Twitter says the move to restrict Russian state accounts is not retaliatory.

It said the move would apply "whether Twitter is blocked in [Russia] or not".

Read more: Boris pleads with Russians: Don't let Putin's 'war crimes' be in your name

Read more: Zelenskyy: Ukrainians 'having tongues cut off' and being turned into 'silent slaves'

The site also said it would ask government or state affiliated media accounts to remove any tweets featuring prisoners of war (PoW), under an article of the Geneva Convention that protects PoWs from "any physical or psychological abuse or threat thereof, and encompasses a prohibition on humiliating them".

"Beginning today, we will require the removal of Tweets posted by government or state-affiliated media accounts which share media that depict prisoners of war in the context of the war in Ukraine," said Mr Roth.

"We’re doing so in line with international humanitarian law, and in consultation with international human rights groups.

"To protect essential reporting on the war, some exceptions apply under this guidance where there is a compelling public interest or newsworthy POW content."

The restrictions on Russian government accounts are similar to those already imposed on Russian media profiles.