American media outlet NPR has become the first major news organisation to quit Twitter after the Elon Musk-run platform labelled it as a government-funded organisation.
After NPR, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) also left Twitter after being labelled as government-backed media.
NPR said it will no longer post fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds, including the primary @NPR handle, which has nearly 9 million followers.
Last week, Twitter placed a “state-affiliated media” label on NPR’s account. After a backlash, the micro-blogging platform changed the label on NPR’s account to “government-funded media,” the way it has done to the BBC.
“At this point, I have lost my faith in the decision-making at Twitter. I would need some time to understand whether Twitter can be trusted again,” NPR CEO John Lansing was quoted as saying.
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PBS has also not tweeted from its main Twitter handle since April 8, following Musk’s decision to label the outlet “government-funded news.”
On Thursday, Musk reacted on NPR and PBS leaving his platform: “Publicly funded PBS joins publicly funded NPR in leaving Twitter in a huff after being labelled ‘Publicly Funded’.”
According to Twitter, the “government-funded” label applies to any news outlet receiving “some or all” funding from the government, which “may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content.”
Musk has targeted mainstream media outlets like The New York Times — followed by 55 million people — and removed its verified checkmark.
All legacy verified accounts are set to lose their Blue checkmark by April 20.
By going silent on Twitter, NPR CEO said the network is protecting its credibility and its ability to produce journalism without “a shadow of negativity.”
“The downside, whatever the downside, doesn’t change that fact,” NPR CEO John Lansing said in an interview. “I would never have our content go anywhere that would risk our credibility.”
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