SOCIAL MEDIA

NPR quits Elon Musk’s Twitter over ‘government-funded’ label

Apr 12, 2023, 11:50 AM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 3:46 pm

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17:  The House of Representatives voted 228-192 to ban local public radio st...

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17: The House of Representatives voted 228-192 to ban local public radio stations from using federal funds to pay for National Public Radio, effectively cutting off 40-percent of NPR's revenue, March 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. The legislation now moves to the Democrat-controlled Senate where it is unlikely to pass. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

National Public Radio is quitting Twitter after the social media platform owned by Elon Musk stamped NPR’s account with labels the news organization says undermine its credibility.

Twitter labeled NPR’s main account last week as “state-affiliated media, ” a term also used to identify media outlets controlled or heavily influenced by authoritarian governments, such as Russia and China. Twitter later changed the label to “government-funded media” and gave it to a few other organizations, such as the Public Broadcasting Service in the U.S. and the British Broadcasting Corporation in the U.K.

NPR said in a statement on Wednesday that it “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.”

PBS said Wednesday it has also stopped tweeting from its main account because of its new label and has no plans to resume.

Media analysts say growing friction between Twitter and news organizations since Musk bought the platform is bad for Twitter, and bad for the public.

“It’s a shame to have proceeded in a direction where, intentionally or otherwise, Twitter is categorizing Russian propaganda outlets in a similar way to very legitimate news sources that get a very modest amount of funding from the U.S. government,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

This is just the latest example of Musk tangling with mainstream news organizations. He abruptly suspended the accounts of individual journalists who wrote about Twitter late last year, claiming some were trying to reveal his location.

Twitter earlier in April removed the verification check mark on the main account of The New York Times, singling out the newspaper and disparaging its reporting after it said it would not pay Twitter for verification of its institutional accounts.

Twitter used to tag journalists and other high-profile accounts with blue check marks to verify their identity and distinguish them from imposters, but Musk has derided the marks as an underserved status symbol and plans to take them away from anyone not buying a premium subscription.

Barrett said Musk appears to be intent on “insulting and antagonizing individuals and organizations that he considers to be too liberal for his taste.” But by driving away legitimate news outlets, Twitter is only harming itself, he said.

“The drift is in an unfortunate direction,” Barrett said. “You want to encourage sources of reliable, well-reported news to be present and prolific on your platform.”

NPR’s main account had not tweeted since April 4. On Wednesday, it sent a series of tweets listing other places to find its journalism.

NPR spokesperson Isabel Lara said its journalists, employees and member stations can decide on their own if they want to keep using the platform. NPR journalists have not been given the “government-funded” label, at least not yet.

NPR does receive U.S. government funding through grants from federal agencies and departments, along with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The company has said it accounts for less than 1% of NPR’s annual operating budget.

Twitter’s new labels have often appeared arbitrarily assigned. It tagged NPR with the “state-affiliated” label after Musk participated in a public conversation about NPR on Twitter. It then deleted mention of NPR, but temporarily left up BBC, on a web page where it described how news organizations “with editorial independence” should not get that label.

Twitter hasn’t added the “government-funded” label for many other public broadcasting organizations, such as those in Canada and Australia. It has also changed some labels without explanation, such as when it removed a “United Arab Emirates state-affiliated media” tag from the profile of Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper earlier this year.

In an interview Tuesday with a BBC technology reporter at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, Musk acknowledged that the British organization “is not thrilled” about the label it received and asked the reporter for feedback.

“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.”

The BBC said Wednesday it would welcome a move to change the label to “publicly funded” instead of government-funded.

___

AP Writers David Bauder and Kelvin Chan contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Social Media

FILE: In this photo illustration, a mobile phone featuring the TikTok app is displayed next to the ...

Haleluya Hadero, AP Business Writer

TikTok sues US to block law that could ban the social media platform

TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance are suing the U.S. federal government over a law that would ban the popular video-sharing app unless it’s sold to another company.

22 days ago

In one TikTok video, viewed more than 16.7 million times, an interviewer asks eight women on the st...

AJ Willingham, CNN

Man or bear? A viral question has spawned scary responses

Another day, another hypothetical scenario tearing people apart on social media. However, this cultural discourse has some sharp teeth.

23 days ago

FILE - OpenAI's ChatGPT app is displayed on an iPhone in New York, May 18, 2023. With companies dep...

Associated Press

Eight U.S. newspapers sue ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement

A group of eight U.S. newspapers is suing ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging that the technology companies have been “purloining millions” of copyrighted news articles without permission or payment to train their artificial intelligence chatbots.

29 days ago

FILE - The Hyundai company logo hangs over a long row of cars at a car dealership in Centennial, Co...

CNN

Hyundai is the latest brand to pause advertising on X due to antisemitism

Hyundai said on Thursday it paused advertising on X, after an ad from the automaker reportedly appeared adjacent to an antisemitic and pro-Hitler post on the social media site.

1 month ago

Unfounded allegations of students at Mt. Nebo Junior High School dressing up like animals and bitin...

Logan Stefanich, KSL.com

No evidence of ‘furries’ in Nebo School District despite allegations, social media firestorm

Unfounded allegations of students at Mt. Nebo Junior High School dressing up like animals and biting, barking, and pouncing on fellow students created a social media firestorm on Wednesday.

1 month ago

Phone with Instagram logo...

Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer

Instagram begins blurring nudity in messages to protect teens and fight sexual extortion

Instagram says it’s deploying new tools to protect young people and combat sexual extortion.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

NPR quits Elon Musk’s Twitter over ‘government-funded’ label