NPR leaves Twitter amid dispute over labeling


(NEW YORK) — NPR will stop sharing content on Twitter, the company announced Wednesday — a rebuke of certain labels the social media platform attached to the news outlet.

The international media non-profit said the categorization — first as “US state-affiliated media” and later “government-funded media” — prompted the outlet to stop posting “fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds,” according to a Wednesday statement.

“It would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards,” NPR CEO John Lansing said in an email to staff explaining the decision.

Owned by Elon Musk, Twitter is working to undermine NPR’s credibility, the outlet said.

​​”NPR’s organizational accounts will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent,” NPR said in a statement Wednesday.

Twitter labeled NPR’s main account as “US state-affiliated media” last week. The “state-affiliated media” stamp is also used to identify media outlets run or heavily influenced by authoritarian governments, like in Russia or China.

Twitter policy defines its labeling of state-affiliated media accounts as outlets where “the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution.”

The company later changed NPR’s label to “government-funded media,” a stamp that has since remained. At least one other public news organization, the BBC, has the same label.

Twitter defines “government-funded media” accounts 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.”

On Wednesday, after NPR’s announcement, the GOP’s House Judiciary Twitter account appeared to weigh in on the incident, saying “Defund NPR” in a Tweet.

NPR does not receive direct federal funds, but it receives some government funding through grants from federal agencies and departments. The company said those funds account for less than 1% of their annual operating budget.

In a farewell tweet, NPR suggested people subscribe to its “Up First” newsletter, download the NPR app and enable mobile push alerts.

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