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Archive for February 9, 2023

Newsline: EU’s top diplomat warns Twitter over disinformation

A controversial move by Twitter-owner Elon Musk to end free access to its APIs by February 9 has attracted criticism from the European Union’s top diplomat who has warned it could threaten the ability of researchers to study disinformation. “We have to do more research on the social media platforms. Study how [disinformation] flow[s], where does it come from, and which are the results,” high commissioner Josep Borrell said in the speech to the European Union’s diplomatic service (EEAS). Borrell singled out Twitter — and Musk as its owner — for naming and shaming — saying the EU is concerned about the news that Twitter is planning to restrict free access to its APIs which he warned would be “a serious step back from early commitments”. (https://techcrunch.com/2023/02/07/elon-musk-twitter-disinformation-josep-borrell/) “Early commitments” is likely a reference to Twitter being a signatory of the bloc’s Code of Practice on Online Disinformation from the get-go, back in 2018, when the Commission unveiled the voluntary initiative to encourage social media platforms to tackle the ‘fake news’ crisis.

Newsline: US Takes Over Venezuela Embassy

The US took custody of Venezuela’s embassy and official residences in Washington and New York after the opposition’s diplomatic mission was closed following the removal of Juan Guaidó as interim president, according to people familiar with the matter. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-02-09/us-takes-custody-of-venezuela-embassy-in-wake-of-guaido-vote) The State Department took over the buildings as of Feb. 6. The mission was closed because the opposition was left without an executive branch after Guaidó was ousted and his interim government was ended in a December vote, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is sensitive.

Newsline: Algeria recalls ambassador to Paris

Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris on Wednesday, accusing France of orchestrating the escape of an activist it wants for arrest and triggering a new crisis between the countries after months of increasingly warm relations. Amira Bouraoui, a rights activist detained during the 2019 mass protests in Algeria and freed from prison in 2020, had allegedly crossed into Tunisia illegally after evading Algerian judicial surveillance, according to Algerian and French media. She was arrested in Tunisia this week and faced an extradition hearing, but the judge ordered her to be freed and she was allowed to leave the country on Monday. French media has reported that her release and flight to France resulted from French diplomatic pressure on Tunisia. On Tuesday Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi without giving a reason. Algeria’s Foreign Ministry accused Paris of “violation of national sovereignty by French diplomatic, consular and security personnel who participated in the illegal and secret evacuation of an Algerian national”. It added in a statement that the development is “unacceptable and harms Algerian-French relations”. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/algeria-recalls-ambassador-paris-over-activists-flight-2023-02-08/) France’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment. A spokesperson for Tunisia’s government was not immediately available to comment.