Twitter removed labels that described prominent news organizations as “government funded” or “state affiliated” after NPR and public broadcasters in several countries criticized the labels as misleading and suspended the use of their Twitter accounts.
The removal of the labels was Twitter’s latest abrupt and inexplicable shift under its owner, Elon Musk.
Twitter made the change a day after it began removing check mark icons from the profiles of thousands of celebrities, politicians and journalists whose identities were verified before Mr. Musk bought the company for $44 billion in October. Twitter, which automatically responds to press inquiries via email with an emoji, did not immediately comment on Friday.
NPR mentioned Mr. Musk said in an email that Twitter had dropped all media tags and that “this was Walter Isaacson’s suggestion,” apparently referring to the author and former media executive working on a book about Mr. Musk. Mr. Isaacson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
NPR said last week that it would suspend all use of Twitter after the social network designated the broadcaster “US affiliated media.”
Twitter then changed the label on the NPR Twitter account to “Government Funded Media”. It gave the same rating to PBS, which also said it would stop tweeting from its account.
NPR said last week it received less than 1 percent of it Annual operating budget In the form of grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded by the government and other federal agencies and departments. The two largest sources of revenue, she said, are corporate sponsorships and fees paid by member stations, which depend largely on listener donations.
PBS says on its website That is, because it is non-commercial, many people mistakenly believe that the government provides the bulk of its financing. But the broadcaster said federal funding is only about 15 percent of its revenue.
Twitter also applied the “government funded media” tag to the account of the BBC, Britain’s national broadcaster, until it was changed to “public funded media”. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation object for Mr. Musk’s decision to name him.69% of the media is funded by the governmentHe was to stop using his Twitter account.
in a permit Released Thursday, the Global Task Force, a group representing national public broadcasters of eight countries, including Canada, Britain and France, objected to Twitter’s designation of four of its members as “government-funded media.”
The group said the “misleading flag” was applied “without warning or consultation” to the Twitter accounts of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC/Radio Canada, the Korean Broadcasting System and Radio New Zealand. The statement said the editorial independence of the four broadcasters is protected by law and enshrined in their editorial policies.
“Describing them in this way misleads the public about their operational and editorial independence from the government,” the group said.
This argument was similar to that made by NPR’s chief communications officer, Isabelle Lara, who said last week that “NPR regulatory accounts will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.”
By Friday, Twitter had removed the “government funded” tags from the accounts of NPR, BBC, PBS, CBC and Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The “state media” tag was also removed from the Twitter accounts of the official Chinese news agency Xinhua and the Russian state media outlet RT. The page on Twitter detailing its policy on media labels has been removed.
NPR didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday, but NPR CEO John Lansing said the broadcaster wouldn’t immediately return to Twitter, even if the “government funded media” tag was removed.
“It will take me a while to understand if Twitter can be trusted again,” he said. Interview on NPR last week.
PBS declined to comment on Friday. CBC said in an email, “We are reviewing this latest development and will be leaving our Twitter accounts on pause before taking any next steps.”
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