Twitter Takes Down Misinformation Marketing campaign Round Reproductive Well being In Kenya

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Twitter has eliminated greater than 240 accounts, after the invention of a coordinated marketing campaign aiming to unfold misinformation round ladies’s well being and reproductive rights in Kenya.

Mozilla Fellow Odanga Madung discovered proof {that a} Spanish-based group, CitizenGO, pushed 10 hashtags into Twitter’s trending part in Kenya, whereas the nation’s parliament debated the 2020 Reproductive Healthcare Invoice and the 2021 Surrogacy Invoice.

“The analysis reveals how a right-wing European group used Twitter to insert disinformation and inflammatory rhetoric into an necessary and nuanced regional dialog,” says Madung.

The payments aimed to outlaw pressured sterilizations; to make prenatal, supply and postnatal providers free to each lady within the nation; and to develop requirements, rules and tips on assisted copy.

Madung reviewed over 20,000 tweets and interviewed influencers who stated that they had been paid to tweet, receiving content material and directions from CitizenGO by way of WhatsApp.

The tweets made false claims round surrogacy and reproductive well being, and repeated hashtags, phrases, and memes. Many got here from accounts that tweeted nothing however hashtags, and have been synchronized for sure occasions of day.

“Our analysis means that the purpose of the campaigns particularly might have been to frustrate any makes an attempt to have factual conversations on the payments that have been put ahead and to create ethical panic across the points,” reads the report.

“It’s a tactic which is prone to be efficient in attaining its purpose as a result of issues like teenage sexuality, abortion, and surrogacy are hotly contentious public points in Kenya.”

Final 12 months, Twitter was prompted to take away 100 accounts after earlier analysis from Mozilla revealed disinformation campaigns selling a government-backed invoice to amend Kenya’s structure, often known as the Constructing Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Nonetheless, Madung believes that Twitter’s trending algorithm is just too straightforward to control. He’s calling for the corporate to hold out country-specific threat assessments, companion with truth checkers and civil society organizations and collaborate with researchers in every area. The corporate must also present extra readability and knowledge round its trending algorithm.

“Twitter lacks the cultural context, the workers, and the desire to confront this drawback. This drawback will solely develop extra extreme forward of Kenya’s 2022 federal election,” says Madung.

“These teams have made it clear that they intend to have a hand in our politics. It is essential that Twitter addresses the issue earlier than then.”

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