The social media network Twitter referred to National Public Radio (NPR) as “state-affiliated media,” an accurate label that NPR believes damages its credibility. As a result, NPR has announced its departure from Twitter. The term is used on Twitter to describe media organizations that are significantly influenced or under the authority of authoritarian governments, according to Associated Press. In reality, it truly describes any type of media outlet that is partially or fully funded and operated by the state. Twitter later updated the description to “government-funded media” and handed it to the BBC, among other media organizations.
NPR said in a statement on Wednesday that its institutional accounts on Twitter would be inactive going forward because the social media site implies incorrectly that NPR lacks editorial independence. Since April 4th, NPR had stopped tweeting from its main account. It utilized the account on Wednesday to identify additional locations where readers might get its news.
Twitter branded NPR as being “state-affiliated” even though it only receives less than 1% of its funding from federal organizations and departments, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, after Twitter founder Elon Musk took part in a discussion regarding NPR. Later, Musk removed his reference to NPR from a webpage explaining why media organizations shouldn’t be given that moniker, but left the BBC there.
Chief Communications Officer for NPR Isabel Lara stated that NPR staff members, reporters, and member stations are still free to choose whether or not to utilize Twitter. She made it clear that NPR is a separate entity from its staff members and affiliate stations, who manage their own Twitter accounts.
Twitter has flagged labels for other outlets, including NPR’s counterpart in the United Kingdom. Musk acknowledged in an interview with a BBC technology reporter at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters on Tuesday that the British news organization is unhappy with the “state-affiliated” label and has opted to change it to “publicly funded.” “Our goal was simply to be as truthful and accurate as possible,” Musk said. “So I think we’re adjusting the label to be ‘publicly funded’, which I think is perhaps not too objectionable. We’re trying to be accurate.”