Twitter's search tool appears to have started ghosting the accounts of several news organisations from Russia and China in a follow-up to its selective crackdown on "state-affiliated media".
The Twitter pages of Russia's Sputnik and RT, as well as China's Xinhua and the Global Times, no longer appear in the drop-down pick list when their name is typed in the search bar if the user doesn't follow them. This works for users with different country settings.
The site apparently does not hide those foreign government-linked accounts that have (so far) not received the "state-affiliated" label, such as Iran's IRNA, Press TV, or Tasnim News.
Although it remains unclear whether this is a new policy or a mere glitch in Twitter's search algorithms, it does contradict the platform's stated policy of no shadow bans based on political viewpoints or ideology.
The platform this month slapped "state-affiliated media" labels on a number of media organisations – thoughtfully omitting Western outlets like the BBC, Voice of America, or National Public Radio.
In announcing the policy change, Twitter said it would not "recommend or amplify" the labelled accounts. There has been no word, however, on removing the accounts from searches.