Boycotts Worked: Twitter Drops Label That Drove NPR Away

The 'government-funded media' descriptor is no more
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2023 9:23 AM CDT
Boycotts Worked: Twitter Drops 'Gov't-Funded Media' Labels
The headquarters for National Public Radio (NPR) stands on North Capitol Street on April 15, 2013, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Twitter was apparently concerned enough by media outlets boycotting its platform that it's made a U-turn, dropping the "government-funded media" label that sent NPR, the CBC, and other outlets packing. The label is now missing from the accounts of NPR, the CBC, the BBC, and other outlets, while the "state-affiliated media" tagline applied to the accounts of Chinese publishers including Xinhua News and Russian outlets Sputnik and RT as far back as 2020 also vanished, per Reuters and the AP. Twitter's page explaining the government-funded media labels has also disappeared.

The labels themselves vanished "without any explanation" on Thursday, the same day the Global Task Force for Public Media called on Twitter to correct its misleading labeling on public broadcasters, per the Canadian Press. Twitter defined government-funded media as "where the government provides some or all of the outlet's funding and may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content." But the task force said editorial independence was enshrined in the outlets' editorial policies and protected by law. It suggested "publicly-funded media" would be a more suitable label.

After appealing to Twitter, the BBC had its label changed to "publicly-funded media." But that has disappeared, too. Some outlets, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, had continued tweeting under the "government-funded media" label. But NPR, PBS, the CBC, and Sweden's public radio all refused to tweet under such terms. None had resumed tweeting as of 9am ET Friday. A CBC spokesperson said it's "reviewing this latest development and will leave our [Twitter] accounts on pause before taking any next steps," per CP. An NPR rep previously said the outlet would become active again once its "false disclaimer" was removed. (Some of Twitter's blue "verified" checkmarks are vanishing, too.)

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