UK Politician Who Had Shows On Russian TV Channel Threatens To Sue Twitter For Noting His Connections To Russian Media

from the not-how-any-of-this-works dept

George Galloway is a UK politician with, well, something of a reputation. Anyway, recently, he got very, very upset, because Twitter labeled his account as being “Russia state-affiliated media.”

That tweet shows the addition by Twitter of the “Russia state-affiliated media” and then says:

Dear @TwitterSupport I am not “Russian State Affiliated media”. I work for NO #Russian media. I have 400,000 followers. I’m the leader of a British political party and spent nearly 30 years in the British parliament. If you do not remove this designation I will take legal action.

Twitter started labeling “state-affiliated” media accounts a while back and has explained the process thoroughly, including noting that there is a clear appeals process. Earlier this year, Twitter expanded the labeling of Russian state-affiliated media to attach it also to individuals who worked with those organizations, rather than just the organizations themselves.

Now, if Galloway truly worked for “no Russian media” he might have a reason to be frustrated. But, as people pointed out to him fairly quickly, at the time of that tweet above, his profile actually named multiple Russian media operations that he was directly associating himself with: “Sputnik on RT” and “InQuestion” a daily news program on RT.

Of course, as soon as people started pointing that out, Galloway’s profile magically changed. Poof.

But, of course, it’s not hard to find Galloway’s fairly close association with those Russian state-affiliated media organizations. While he no longer links to Sputnik RT, that account’s profile notes that the show is hosted… by George Galloway and has his image front and center.

So, uh, yeah, George, you kinda are associated with Russian state-affiliated media. In fact, the latest post on Sputnik on RT’s Twitter feed is literally George Galloway, posted on March 25 (so, like two weeks ago) ranting about “crazy Joe Biden” apparently cooking up a “false flag” operation in Ukraine.

And, while Galloway no longer links to this in his Twitter profile, his own website still highlights his connection to RT:

So, yeah, if you don’t want to be considered Russian state-affiliated media, maybe don’t have TV shows on Russian state-affiliated media that you appeared on within the last month?

Galloway’s response to some of this criticism is that it doesn’t count, because the UK government has “closed down” those Russian media operations, that suddenly frees him from being Russian state-affiliated media (which again, he was presenting on just weeks ago).

So… he was working for Russian state media and it’s bad for you to mention that because he can no longer work for Russian state media?

Somehow, he was then able to find a law firm in Ireland to send a laughably bumptious legal threat letter to Twitter, with promises to sue within a week:

Our client entirely disputes that he is “Russia state-affiliated media” and provides notice of his intention to institute proceedings against Twitter for breach of his personal data rights defamation/libel and harassment.

The application of the label is unlawful both as a matter of data protection law and otherwise unlawful being defamatory/libellous, an intrusion into our client’s private life because it is a serious attack on his personal/professional integrity and reputation and because the application of the label interferes with his right to freedom of expression through censorship

Look, I know that other parts of the world, including Ireland, have more ridiculous defamation laws than the US (which are more protective of free speech), but even in Ireland, a defense to a defamation claim is if the statement is “substantially true.” And it’s hard to deny that Galloway worked for Russian media. If that really has changed within the last week or so, the proper thing to do is to go through Twitter’s appeals process, not flip out and alert a lot more people that you were totally down with being a Russian state media presenter than realized it before.

Separately, Irish defamation law requires that a defamatory statement actually damage the reputation of the person making the complaint. And, as you might notice above, Galloway’s Twitter followers grew in the days after his temper tantrum.

Either way, George, if you don’t like how Twitter operates, your free to use one of its many, many competitors. Oh, I see you’ve already found one:

I hope you enjoy your stay on GETTR, George. Just make sure not to call that company’s main financial backer a Chinese spy, okay? They don’t like that over there in that “free speech” heaven.

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Companies: russia today, twitter

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Comments on “UK Politician Who Had Shows On Russian TV Channel Threatens To Sue Twitter For Noting His Connections To Russian Media”

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Anonymous Coward says:

If only that logic worked for everything.

P: Sir, you’re under arrest for bank robbery.

S: Yes, but i am not robbing the bank right now.

P: Oh, sorry, right. Beg your pardon, sir.

Or any other case. What you said about some political opponent or proposed law last week. That international spying you did yesterday. That propaganda you keep pushing even though you are no longer platformed and paid by that outfit that liked your worldview.

Anonymous Coward says:


Few know that the Tetris theme is a traditional Russian folksong, Korobeiniki — or, The Peddler.

Here is a modern English translation.

Oh, how my plate has become so full,
I’ve got critics and I have got trolls.
I beg for your pity, oh sweet audience,
Towards this humble fellow’s Twitter feed.
I will go to the media,
I will wait there until the night arrives,
Once I can see any offered cash,
I will spread out my morals in exchange.
I paid no small price to debase myself,
So don’t give me less than I am due,
Bring your precious attention to me,
Come sit closer and listen to this fine lad.
The interview is already done,
Now I dare to wait for another,
Hark, what is this underneath my name?
Advertising to all whom I’ve sold out to.
The internet is now hassling me,
I am afraid it says too much,
After all, it was in the past,
As I cannot again get paid my price.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Presenting on Russian media doesn’t mean you personally are Russian media. The last thing we need is more tech tyrants lording it over people – their tagging is fantasy, and maybe some folks are “non-binary”. We could have figured out for ourselves, I’d say.

I don’t think internet has a future.

PaulT (profile) says:


“Presenting on Russian media doesn’t mean you personally are Russian media”

But… the claim wasn’t that they are Russian media, only that they are associated with media affiliated with it. Which, having regular appearances on RT and Sputnik would seem to support.

“The last thing we need is more tech tyrants lording it over people”

Agreed, which is why it’s comforting that the attempts so far to control existing tech platforms and/or reduce the ability for the public to use multiple platforms as they are used to doing have so far failed.

“their tagging is fantasy, and maybe some folks are “non-binary””

The tags seem to be way more rooted in reality than the attempts to complain that there’s no competition and that non-binary people don’t exist, so weirdly you’re actually truthful here.

“I don’t think internet has a future.”

It has a future. The fact that you don’t like the accepting and non-regressive and intolerant of hatred direction that’s currently being taken is noted. But, if you don’t like it, there’s an easy way to remove yourself from the equation – or just go to the places that agree with you instead of trying to impose your will on people who tell you that you. aren’t always welcome in the same way they tell you in the real world.

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restless94110 (profile) says:

What about?

So, Larry King had a show on RT. But he had nothing to do with Russia at all. Jesse Ventura has a show right now on RT, but there is no Russian connection whatsoever. Same with anyone else who had or has a show on RT. RT provides entertainment for English-speaking viewers. It’s give us product and we put it on our channel. The producers are Americans or English people talking about things that concern or are of interest to Americans in their country or Englishmen in theirs. In other words, there is no connection to Russia in having a show on Russia Today. And it would be a deliberate misstatement to say that there was a connection.

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PaulT (profile) says:


“In other words, there is no connection to Russia in having a show on Russia Today”

The claim is not that they have a connection to Russia, it’s that they have a connection to Russian state media. Which, even though you seem to be trying to pretend that the RT connection is the only one that exists despite evidences to the contrary in the article, is clearly the case.

If you keep making appearances on Russian state media, your connection to Russian state media will be correctly noted.

sumgai (profile) says:


….there is no connection to Russia in having a show on Russia Today

…. says Putin’s second favorite dick-licker.

resty, I’m not gonna harass any electrons trying to explain to you just how your thinking is so off the mark. You’d just drag me down to your level, and then beat me with your vast experience. Uh uh, I’m not falling for that tactic buddy, but nice try.

Here, here’s a nice little red mallet, and a bucket full of sand. Do I have to explain to you what to do with them?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Peter says:

Note what he didn't say

Note what he said. “I no longer work for Russian media because they got closed down by the government”

Note what he DIDNT say “I no longer work for Russian media because as soon as Russia invaded Ukraine, I decided to stop working for them.”

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