NPR to suspend use of Twitter after ‘government funded’ label

NPR to suspend use of Twitter after ‘government funded’ label

NPR to suspend use of Twitter after 'government funded' label

National Public Radio announced on Wednesday that it would suspend all use of Twitter, just over a week after the social network designated the broadcaster as “media affiliated with the US state”.

Twitter has since changed the label on the NRP Twitter Account to “government-funded media,” a designation he also gave to PBS. This tag also appeared on the account of the BBCBritain’s national broadcaster, until Wednesday when it was changed to “state-funded media”.

NPR said Twitter’s decision could damage its reputation.

“NPR’s organizational accounts will no longer be active on Twitter as the platform takes actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent,” said Isabel Lara, NPR’s director of communications. in a press release.

In a letter to staff on Wednesday morning, NPR chief executive John Lansing said posting on the platform would do staff journalism a disservice. “The actions of Twitter or other social media companies aimed at tarnishing the independence of any public media institution are exceptionally harmful and set a dangerous precedent,” he wrote.

In a Twitter feed Wednesday morning, the broadcaster shared links to its newsletters and accounts on other social media sites. Some NPR-affiliated stations, including WNYC in New York continued to post on Twitter.

PBS took similar action. “PBS stopped tweeting from our account when we learned of the change, and we have no plans to resume at this time,” said Jason Phelps, a PBS spokesperson, who had not posted. on Twitter. Since SATURDAY.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

In an interview with NPR, Mr. Lansing said the broadcaster would not return to Twitter immediately, even if the tag was removed. “I would need time to figure out if Twitter can be trusted again,” he said.

NPR said employees can decide for themselves whether to stay on the platform, but its executives advised caution. Tony Cavin, the broadcaster’s standards editor, said in a memo to staff that the company’s decision made it more likely that those who remained on Twitter would be trolled. He added that Twitter had become “less reliable” and that the platform’s blue checkmarks, once used to verify public figures, were now “almost meaningless”.

Twitter has faced plenty of controversy since Elon Musk bought the company in October for $44 billion, including mass layoffs that have coincided with an increase in outages and other issues. There have also been criticisms that the platform has attracted more hate speech.

In an interview with the BBC which was also broadcast on Twitter on Tuesday evening, Mr Musk pushed back on a claim that hate speech had increased on the platform since he took over. He also said blue checks once given to celebrities, politicians and other notable people would be phased out by next week.

In the past, Twitter noted that NPR and the BBC were exceptions to its guidelines on state-affiliated accounts because they were “state-funded, editorially independent media organisations.”

Ms. Lara said last week that, on average, NPR receives less than 1% of its annual operating budget in grants from the government-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other federal agencies and departments.

Even before Mr. Musk took power, the media sometimes suspended their Twitter accounts. In 2018, Fox News stopped tweeting for 16 months after primetime host Tucker Carlson’s home address was published on the site.

ryan mac contributed report.


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