Twitter purges state-backed disinformation accounts; US sanctions ICC staff, Syria
A 3D printed Twitter logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016.
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Twitter has purged and archived more than 32,000 accounts linked to state-backed disinformation operations coming out of China, Russia and Turkey. All of the accounts have been removed for violations of Twitter’s platform manipulation policies, which prevent users from utilizing the platform “to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience.”
Nearly 24,000 of the accounts Twitter purged were removed for pushing “deceptive narratives” about Hong Kong and “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China.” The social media platform also removed more than 1,100 accounts linked to Russian state-backed political propaganda promoting President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, and more than 7,300 accounts targeting users in Turkey with narratives favoring President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his party.
Earlier this week, the European Commission blamed Russia and China for engaging in “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns,” with the goal of undermining democracies and projecting distorted views of China’s response to the pandemic. The commission called on social media companies to report monthly on how they are addressing COVID-19 misinformation.
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In an attempt to strong-arm the International Criminal Court and undermine an investigation into possible US war crimes, the Trump administration has authorized sanctions and new visa restrictions on ICC personnel. The tribunal has called the move “an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court’s judicial proceedings.”
And in Syria, where the currency has fallen 70% since April, new US anti-war crimes sanctions could squeeze what remains of the country’s economy, devastating Syrians facing a horrific war and critical food shortages. In neighboring Lebanon, there are increased calls for the government to resign as the currency there depreciated by more than 25% in two days, and protesters took to the streets in some of the most widespread demonstrations in months.
Meanwhile, after countries and states pushed reopening, some are seeing concerning spikes in COVID-19 infections. More than 7.5 million people are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 — and more than 2 million of those cases are in the US.
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Barrels of chemicals seized from a drug lab in northern Myanmar.
Myanmar’s Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control
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Tendai Ryan Nguni and Tendaiishe Chitima star as Prince and Anesu in the Zimbabwean film, “Cook Off.”
Courtesy of Bongani Kumbula/”Cook Off”
Sometimes, you just need to kick back in front of the TV and watch a rom-com. Here’s a suggestion: “Cook Off.” It’s the story of a single mom who enters a TV cooking competition that might just change her life. And last week, it became the first film from Zimbabwe to get picked up by Netflix.
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Bath time for pandas pic.twitter.com/yj0YVJolyo
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