A Twitter account for Russia’s Foreign Ministry outpost in Crimea has been verified by Twitter, sparking a complaint from several countries that object to anything that might legitimize Russia’s grip on the territory.
For the last several years, Twitter has been grappling with perceptions of just what exactly the coveted “blue checkmark” means. In verifying a user, the debate goes, is Twitter then granting a form of legitimacy to the account? Or is the tech company merely informing users that the account is who it claims it is?
The question is coming to a head for international diplomats in the form of the @PMSimferopol account, which is run by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The account, which bills itself as the official account for the MFA’s Representative Office in Simferopol, mostly tweets idyllic scenery and other cultural ephemera in an attempt to boost tourism to Crimea.