In a blog post on Monday, Twitter announced that it would no longer accept ad dollars from state-run media entities.
“Any affected accounts will be free to continue to use Twitter to engage in public conversation, just not our advertising products,” the company wrote.
In its announcement, Twitter clarified that its new policy will “apply to news media entities that are either financially or editorially controlled by the state,” a definition that still leaves plenty of room for interpretation. To make those determinations, the company is drawing on research created by press freedom groups like the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders.
“We will be making policy determinations on the basis of critical issues of media freedom and independence, such as control of editorial content, financial ownership, influence or interference over broadcasters, editors, and journalists, direct and indirect exertion of political pressure, and/or control over the production and distribution process,” Twitter wrote.
State-controlled accounts solely dedicated to sports, travel, and entertainment won’t be affected if they stick to those topics. Twitter declined to provide specific examples of content sources that would and would not be permissible under the new rules.
Word of Twitter’s policy shift comes the same day the company disclosed a coordinated disinformation campaign seeking to influence public opinion about ongoing protests in Hong Kong. The company discovered 936 accounts originating within China and coordinating to undermine protest efforts and to otherwise “sow political discord” in the special administrative region.