Tag Archives: NPR

NPR Quits Twitter

CNBC posted an article titled: “NPR quits Twitter, becoming first major U.S. news outlet to do so”. NPR said Wednesday it will stop sharing content on Twitter after the social media company labeled NPR “state-affiliated media,” a term also used for Russia- and China-based propaganda outlets.

CNBC reported that the news outlet’s organizational accounts will no longer post new content on its 52 official Twitter feeds, becoming the first major U.S. news organization to do so since Elon Musk took over Twitter late last year.

NPR was surprised by Twitter’s decision to label the company “state-affiliated media,” according to a report by the outlet. Here is part of what NPR wrote about that:

…The decision by Twitter last week took the public radio network off guard. When queried by NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn, Twitter owner Elon Musk asked how NPR functioned. Must allowed that he might have gotten it wrong.

Twitter then revised it’s label on NPR’s account to “government-funded media.” The news organization says that it inaccurate and misleading, given that NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence. It receives less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

By going silent on Twitter, NPR chief executive says the network is protecting its credibility and its ability to produce journalism without “a shadow of negativity.”…

NPR did not immediately respond to requests for comment by CNBC. Twitter responded to a request for comment with a poop emoji.

NPR plans to shut down its official Twitter accounts, saying a recent decision by the Elon Musk-owned platform to label it as “government-funded media” undermines its credibility, NBC News reported. NPR said that Twitter was “falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.”

“We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence,” NPR said in a statement Wednesday.

In a separate statement, NPR CEO John Lansing said, “Actions by Twitter or other social media companies to tarnish the independence of any public media institution are exceptionally harmful and set a dangerous precedent.”

According to NBC News, Twitter and Musk did not immediately return requests for comment.

The decision to label NPR’s account as “government-funded media” came after Musk and Twitter initially labeled NPR’s account “U.S. state-affiliated media,” a designation customarily used for media outlets with direct ties to government entities, like Russia Today, or RT, and China’s Xinhua.

On April 12, Elon Musk tweeted a screenshot from Bobby Allyn, who wrote: “Re: why state label” Because of the label, NPR is quitting Twitter across all of our 50+ accounts. Our executives say the government-funded media label calls into question our editorial independence and undermines our credibility.

Some wonder if this will cause a chain reaction among news orgs.

What’s your reaction?

Elon Musk responded with “Defund @NPR”.

In my opinion, it appears that Mr. Musk has not only labeled NPR as “government-funded media” but also labeled the BBC that way. It is unclear to me why Elon Musk keeps making that mistake over and over again.

Twitter Labeled NPR as “State-Affiliated Media”

NPR reported that Twitter CEO Elon Musk said the platform’s recent labeling of NPR as “state-affiliated media” might not have been accurate during a series of email exchanges that provided a glimpse into the billionaire’s thought process on decisions that reverberate far beyond the social network.

Regardless, as of late Tuesday, the designation remained.

According to NPR, on Wednesday, press freedom advocates and the network itself were taken aback to see that Twitter had placed NPR in the same category as government-aligned propaganda outlets in China and Russia – despite the network’s federal support, in the form of competitive grants, accounting for about 1% of its annual operating budget.

In one email exchange, Musk appeared to be unclear about the difference between public media and state-controlled media when he decided to affix a state-affiliated media label on NPR’s account.

NPR provided Musk publicly available documentation of the network’s finances showing that nearly 40% of its funding comes from corporate sponsorships and 31% comes from fees for programming paid by local public radio stations. NPR also covers the news free of any government influence – something that should mean it does not receive state-affiliated labeling, according to Twitter’s own rules. 

NPR also reported that since Musk took over the platform in October, Twitter has at times taken a hostile stance toward the national press. Musk’s row with NPR is just the latest instance of the Twitter CEO’s increasingly confrontational stance toward the mainstream media, which often covers Musk and his companies critically.

The Guardian also reported that Twitter on Tuesday evening labeled the account of National Public Radio (NPR) as US state-affiliated media, drawing fierce criticism from the news organization’s leadership. 

Other publications with the label include Russian propaganda network RT and China’s Xinhua News Agency, The Guardian reported.

According to The Guardian, the change to NPR’s designation appears to be in violation of Twitter’s own original policy on how the social media platform determines which companies receive this label. “State-affiliated media is defined as outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution,” the policy reads.

The Guardian noted that Twitter explicitly listed NPR along with the BBC as exceptions to this categorization. The policy noted that while both organizations receive state financing,NPR derives less than 1% from its annual operating budget from government programs – they have editorial independence, according to screenshots posted by NPR reporter David Gura.

By Wednesday morning, however, the policy had been changed to remove the mention of NPR. The designation of the BBC’s Twitter account remained unchanged, and the organization was still included as an exception in the policy. 

The Guardian also reported that the Twitter accounts of other publications that recieve various degrees of state-funding, such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the FlemishVRT NWS, have also been left untouched. 

To me, it sounds like one of two things have happened. Elon Musk doesn’t understand the definition of “state-affiliated media” – but allowed it to be added to NPR despite his misunderstanding. Or, it is possible that Elon Musk has decided to discriminate against news organizations that he doesn’t like. These kinds of snap decisions are not good for Twitter, and certainly aren’t good for Twitter’s users.