Twitter Removes ‘Government-Funded’ Labels From Media Accounts

Published: April 26, 2023

Twitter has eliminated labels that described distinguished news organizations as “government-funded” or “state-affiliated” after NPR and public broadcasters in a number of international locations criticized the labels as deceptive and suspended using their Twitter accounts.

The removing of the labels was the most recent shift that Twitter has made abruptly and with out rationalization underneath the management of its proprietor, Elon Musk.

Twitter made the change at some point after it started eradicating test mark icons from the profiles of hundreds of celebrities, politicians and journalists whose identities it had verified earlier than Mr. Musk purchased the corporate for $44 billion in October. Twitter, which routinely responds to press inquiries by way of e mail with a poop emoji, didn’t instantly touch upon Friday.

NPR reported that Mr. Musk mentioned in an e mail that Twitter had dropped all media labels and that “this was Walter Isaacson’s suggestion,” apparently referring to the writer and former media government who’s engaged on a ebook about Mr. Musk. Mr. Isaacson didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

NPR mentioned final week that it might droop all Twitter use after the social community designated the broadcaster “U.S. state-affiliated media.”

Twitter then modified the label on the NPR Twitter account to “Government-funded Media.” It gave the identical designation to PBS, which additionally mentioned it might cease tweeting from its account.

NPR mentioned final week that it acquired lower than 1 p.c of its annual working funds within the type of grants from the government-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting and different federal businesses and departments. It mentioned its two largest sources of income are company sponsorships and costs paid by member stations, which rely closely on donations from listeners.

PBS says on its web site that, as a result of it’s commercial-free, many individuals mistakenly consider the federal government offers the majority of its funding. But federal funding accounts for under about 15 p.c of its income, the broadcaster mentioned.

Twitter additionally utilized the “Government-funded Media” label to the account of the BBC, the nationwide broadcaster of Britain, till it was modified to “publicly funded media.” The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation objected to Mr. Musk’s choice to label it “69% Government-funded Media” and mentioned it was pausing using its Twitter account.

In a press release issued on Thursday, the Global Task Force, a bunch that represents the nationwide public broadcasters of eight international locations, together with Canada, Britain and France, objected to Twitter’s labeling of 4 of its members as “Government-funded Media.”

The group mentioned that the “misleading label” had been utilized “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 editorial independence of all 4 broadcasters is protected by regulation and enshrined of their editorial insurance policies, the assertion mentioned.

“Labeling them in this way misleads audiences about their operational and editorial independence from government,” the group mentioned.

That argument was much like the one made by Isabel Lara, NPR’s chief communications officer, who mentioned final week that “NPR’s organizational 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 eliminated the “government-funded” labels from the accounts of NPR, the BBC, PBS, the CBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The “state-affiliated media” label has additionally been faraway from the Twitter accounts of the Chinese state news company Xinhua and the Russian state media outlet RT. The web page on Twitter’s web site that detailed its coverage on media labels has been eliminated.

NPR didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Friday, however John Lansing, NPR’s chief government, has mentioned that the broadcaster wouldn’t instantly return to Twitter, even when the “Government-funded Media” label have been eliminated.

“I would need some time to understand whether Twitter can be trusted again,” he mentioned in an interview on NPR final week.

PBS declined to touch upon Friday. The CBC mentioned in an e mail, “We are reviewing this latest development and will leave our Twitter accounts on pause before taking any next steps.”

Source web site: