NPR quits Twitter over inaccurate “state-affiliated media” label

1 min read
NPR quits Twitter over inaccurate "state-affiliated media" label
NPR Headquarters in Washington, DC on April 9, 2013. (Photo by Stephen Voss/NPR)

National Public Radio (NPR) has announced that it will no longer post content to its 52 official Twitter feeds after the social media platform labeled it as “state-affiliated media.” This label implies government involvement in the editorial content of the U.S. organization, which NPR has vehemently denied. The social media platform later changed the label to “government-funded media,” which NPR says still fails to accurately capture its public media governance structure.

In a statement released on Wednesday, NPR said that Twitter refused its repeated requests to remove the inaccurate label. The broadcaster said that if it continued tweeting, every post would carry that misleading label. As a result, NPR has decided to suspend all posting on its Twitter feeds in protest.

NPR is not the only broadcaster to object to the latest label. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has also called the label misleading. In an interview with BBC, Twitter‘s billionaire owner, Elon Musk, said that the company was trying to be “accurate” and looking into amending the label.

Our goal is simply to be as truthful and accurate as possible.. We’re adjusting the label to be ‘publicly funded’ which I think is perhaps not too objectionable,” Musk said.

Despite Twitter’s attempts to address the issue, NPR says that the label still fails to accurately capture its public media governance structure. NPR is a nonprofit media organization that is funded by a combination of public funding, sponsorships, and individual donations. The broadcaster says that the new label, “government-funded media,” is still misleading.

NPR has stated that it will remain on other social media platforms and is reviewing whether it should expand to include emerging third-party platforms. Musk also revealed in the interview that Twitter was “roughly breaking even” as many advertisers, who had paused spending on the micro-blogging platform since its takeover last year, had returned.

The decision by NPR to suspend all posting on its Twitter feeds highlights the growing concerns among media organizations regarding the labeling of news outlets as “state-affiliated media” or “government-funded media.” The label can be damaging to a news outlet’s reputation and lead to accusations of bias or lack of editorial independence.

The move by Twitter to amend the label to “publicly funded” is a step in the right direction. However, it is essential that social media platforms take into account the governance structures of media organizations before applying any labels. Accurate labeling is crucial to maintaining trust in the media and ensuring that news outlets are not unfairly maligned.