February 21, 2024

Twitter removed labels describing prominent news organizations as “government-funded” or “state-affiliated” after NPR and public broadcasters in several countries criticized the labels as misleading and suspended their Twitter accounts.

The removal of the label is the latest in an abrupt and unexplained shift by Twitter under its owner Elon Musk.

The change comes a day after Twitter began removing checkmark icons from the profiles of thousands of celebrities, politicians and journalists before Musk bought the company in October for $44 billion. Twitter, which automatically responded to media inquiries via email with the poop emoji, had no immediate comment on Friday.

NPR Report Mr. Musk said in an email that Twitter had dropped all media labels and that “this was Walter Isaacson’s suggestion,” apparently referring to the author and former author of a book about Mr. Musk. media executives. Isaacson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NPR said last week it would suspend all use of Twitter after the social network designated the broadcaster as a “US national affiliate.”

Twitter then changed the label on NPR’s Twitter account to “government-sponsored media.” It gave the same name to PBS, which also said it would stop tweeting from its account.

NPR said last week that it received less than 1% annual operating budget In the form of grants from government-funded public broadcasters and other federal agencies and departments. It said its two largest sources of income were corporate sponsorships and fees paid by membership stations, which relied heavily on listener donations.

PBS says its website Because it has no commercials, many people mistakenly believe that the government provides most of the funding. But the broadcaster said federal funding only accounts for about 15 percent of its revenue.

Twitter also labeled the account of the British national broadcaster, the BBC, as “government-funded media” until it was changed to “publicly-funded media”.Canadian Broadcasting Corporation opposing Mr. Musk decided to label it as “69% Government-funded media” and said it was pause Use their Twitter account.

exist a statement On Thursday, the national public broadcaster’s global task force representing eight countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and France, objected to Twitter’s labeling of four of its members as “government-sponsored media.”

The group said the Twitter accounts of the ABC, CBC/CBC, KBC and Radio New Zealand had been “misleadingly labeled” “without warning or advice”. The editorial independence of all four broadcasters is protected by law and enshrined in their editorial policies, the statement said.

“Labeling them in this way misleads viewers into thinking they are operationally and editorially independent of the government,” the group said.

This argument is similar to that of Isabel Lara, NPR’s chief communications officer, who said last week that “NPR’s organizational account will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking action by falsely suggesting that we are not editorially independent.”

By Friday, Twitter had removed the “government-funded” label from the accounts of NPR, BBC, PBS, CBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The “official media” label has also been removed from the Twitter accounts of China’s official news agency Xinhua and Russian state media RT. A page on Twitter’s website detailing its media labeling policy has been removed.

NPR did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday, but NPR Chief Executive John Lansing said the broadcaster would not immediately return to Twitter even after removing the “government-funded media” label.

“It will take me some time to see if Twitter can be trusted again,” he said in an interview Last week on NPR.

PBS declined to comment Friday. “We are reviewing this latest development and will suspend our Twitter account before taking any further action,” CBC said in an email.

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