Twitter removed the “government-funded media” labels from NPR and Canada’s CBC accounts after the broadcasters boycotted the platform in protest.
The tag was added to the company’s media accounts earlier this month, leading to both broadcasters announcing that they would stop using Twitter about the label, as it did not accurately reflect their governance structure.
A “state-affiliated media” tag was originally added to NPR’s profile — the label previously associated only with Russia and Chinese state news on the platform.
It was later changed to “government-funded media” along with the BBC and PBS accounts – but the NPR accounts were still silent.
The dispute led to Twitter boss Elon Musk getting into an online spat with the US broadcaster, calling for NPR to be “defunded” and to be stripped of federal funding following the boycott.
Twitter has removed the “government-funded media” labels from NPR and Canada’s CBC accounts. Pictured: Musk and security depart Washington on January 27, 2023
The tag was added to NPR accounts earlier this month, leading to both broadcasters announcing they would stop using Twitter
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Twitter profile was tagged as “69 percent government-funded,” prompting a boycott of the broadcaster
The disagreement between Musk and the broadcasters also caused Twitter to slap Canada’s CBC with a “69% government-funded” tag after the media organization challenged their original label for being “less than 70% government-funded.”
But bosses said the label implied CBC was not editorially independent, as the tycoon promoted a boycott after flagging its government funding.
After NPR announced it would stop using Twitter, CBC followed soon after.
The BBC also lashed out at Twitter after adding the “government-funded media” label to the company’s official account.
In a BBC interview last week, Musk defended Twitter’s decision, saying the social media platform was trying to be “accurate” and would look into changing the label.
Our goal is simply to be as truthful and accurate as possible. We’re changing the label to “government-funded,” which I think might not be too objectionable,” Musk had said.
Radio New Zealand had also threatened to leave Twitter this week over the label being ‘government funded’, while Sweden’s public Sveriges Radio said it would stop tweeting.
With all tags gone Friday, it’s unclear if broadcasters will return to the platform.
BBC, as well as PBS, was also branded a “government-funded media” before being removed
NPR explained its decision to stop using Twitter earlier this month, saying it “stands for freedom of speech[and]holds the powerful accountable”
The new update also saw the “state-affiliated media” tag from China’s official news agency Xinhua and RT from Russia.
Before Musk bought the social media giant, Twitter had long linked accounts to state media outlets or government officials, especially from China and Russia.
It said the policy targeted entities that are “the official voice of the nation-state abroad.”
Recently, however, the labels were applied to news organizations that received public funding but were not controlled by governments.
In a BBC interview last week, Musk defended Twitter’s decision, saying the social media platform was trying to be “accurate” and would look into changing its label
TThe change came shortly after Twitter began mass removal of its blue checkmarks, a symbol that previously meant a verified account, on Thursday.
Musk, having seen his $44 billion investment in the platform dwindle, changed the system so that anyone who pays $8 a month can get the badge.
Musk’s tumultuous ownership of Twitter has led to thousands of employees being laid off and advertisers fleeing the platform.
Users have complained that hate speech and misinformation have spread, and that accounts with extreme views are gaining popularity due to less content being moderated.