NPR To Leave Twitter After Being Labeled 'State-Affiliated Media'

The social media site led by Elon Musk recently applied the label, which is typically reserved for state-controlled media in authoritarian countries.

NPR announced Wednesday it will no longer post content on Twitter, after the social media company led by Elon Musk last week applied a label on NPR’s account reading “State-affiliated media” — a designation that was previously reserved for outlets controlled by governments in authoritarian countries.

“The platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent,” NPR said in a statement. “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.”

Over the weekend, the social media platform updated the label on NPR’s main Twitter account to “Government-funded media,” a term that again doesn’t accurately reflect the nonprofit media organization’s funding.

Twitter defines “government-funded media” as “outlets where the government provides some or all of the outlet’s funding and may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content.”

NPR receives slightly less than 1% of its annual operating budget from the U.S. government, and is editorially independent.

NPR is now prompting its followers to keep up with its content by subscribing to its newsletters and app, or simply by following it on other social media platforms.

NPR CEO John Lansing said he has lost faith “in the decision-making at Twitter,” and clarified that the company would not immediately return to the platform even if Musk chose to remove the label altogether.

“I would need some time to understand whether Twitter can be trusted again,” Lansing told NPR in an interview.

The BBC, which is funded by a license fee paid for by the British public, also has the “Government-funded media” tag displayed on its main Twitter account. In an interview with the network Tuesday, Musk said he would update the labels for both the NPR and BBC accounts to “Publicly funded.”

“We’re trying to be accurate,” Musk said.

The change has yet to take effect.

Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been chaotic and marred by various controversies involving news organizations. Musk on Sunday removed the verification badge of The New York Times after being told the outlet doesn’t plan to pay a monthly subscription fee. He said the newspaper shares “propaganda.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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