Twitter has renamed the US radio network NPR and the BBC as “government-funded” instead of “state-affiliated media” after facing backlash.
After NPR complained that the term “state-affiliated” was inaccurate and disparaging, which led the network to stop tweeting, the change was made quietly on Saturday night.
The updated Twitter bio of NPR’s main account, which has over 8.8 million followers, invites users to find them on other news platforms.
The BBC has reportedly reached out to Twitter seeking clarification regarding the new label. British households primarily fund the BBC through license fees they pay.
Last week, Twitter branded NPR in the same way that it labelled government-owned Chinese and Russian platforms.
NPR stopped tweeting in protest. NPR’s main account, which has over 8.8 million followers, invited people to “find us every other place where you read the news,” reported AFP.
NPR CEO John Lansing said the decision by Twitter was “unacceptable” and the US radio ’s account has remained silent ever since.
Other accounts run by NPR, such as its music and politics handles, did not have the “state-affiliated” specification and have continued to post tweets.
The New York Times verified status on Twitter
Elon Musk made his move against NPR just a few days after Twitter removed The New York Times verified status on the platform. US conservatives frequently accuse both NPR and The New York Times of having a left-leaning bias.
According to Twitter policy, the decisions will deamplify tweets from both companies, limiting their reach on a platform that remains a major communication tool for media outlets, celebrities and officials.
Musk has for years expressed a deep disdain for the news media and in recent weeks installed an automatic response of a poop emoji to emails sent to the site’s main press address.
But on Thursday, NPR said Musk had signaled in a series of emails that the relabeling may not have been “accurate” and that Twitter would look further into the matter.
“The operating principle at Twitter is simply fair and equal treatment, so if we label non-US accounts as government, then we should do the same for the US, but it sounds like that might not be accurate here,” Musk wrote to NPR.
NPR, one of America’s most respected news outlets, told AFP less than one percent of its operational budget comes from federal sources.
NPR’s website states that the majority of its funding comes from fees paid by member stations located throughout the country.