British politician and broadcaster George Galloway has made headlines in the UK with his threat to press legal action against Twitter for designating his account “Russia state-affiliated media”, a label which will now show up under his name every time he posts anything on the platform.
“Dear @TwitterSupport I am not ‘Russian State Affiliated media’,” reads a viral tweet by Galloway. “I work for NO Russian media. I have 400,000 followers. I’m the leader of a British political party and spent nearly 30 years in the British parliament. If you do not remove this designation I will take legal action.”
Galloway argues that while his broadcasts have previously been aired by Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik, because those outlets have been shut down in the UK by Ofcom and by European Union sanctions he can no longer be platformed by them even if he wants to. If you accept this argument, then it looks like Twitter is essentially using the “state-affiliated media” designation as a marker of who Galloway is as a person, rather than as a marker of what he actually does.
Regardless of whether you agree with Galloway’s argument or not, this all overlooks the innate absurdity of a government-tied social media corporation like Twitter labeling other people “state-affiliated media”. Twitter is state-affiliated media. It has been working in steadily increasing intimacy with the United States government since the US empire began pressuring Silicon Valley platforms to regulate content in support of establishment power structures following the 2016 election.
In 2020 Twitter was one of the many Silicon Valley corporations who coordinated directly with US government agencies to determine what content should be censored in order to “secure” the presidential election. In 2021 Twitter announced that it was orchestrating mass purges of foreign accounts on the advice of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), which receives funding from many government institutions including the US State Department.
“ASPI is the propaganda arm of the CIA and the U.S. government,” veteran Australian diplomat Bruce Haigh told Mintpress News earlier this year. “It is a mouthpiece for the Americans. It is funded by the American government and American arms manufacturers. Why it is allowed to sit at the center of the Australian government when it has so much foreign funding, I don’t know. If it were funded by anybody else, it would not be where it is at.”
Twitter has also coordinated its mass purges of accounts with a cybersecurity firm called FireEye, which this 2019 Sputnik article by journalist Morgan Artyukhina explains was “founded in 2004 with money from the CIA’s venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel.”