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National Public Radio Shocks Social Media by Quitting Twitter



National Public Radio in the US has announced that it will stop using Twitter

National Public Radio in the US has announced that it will stop using Twitter due to a disagreement over how the social media platform describes its account. According to BBC, the US not-for-profit news organisation came to blows with the platform over its decision to represent NPR as “government-funded media,” which NPR says compromises its reliability as US government funding makes up less than 1% of its budget.

Elon Musk agreed to change the label on the BBC’s account. During an interview with BBC News on Tuesday, Musk stated he wished for labels to be accurate and truthful but did not refer to NPR.

On Wednesday, NPR said the social media platform was “taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.” The choice makes NPR the first top US news outlet to suspend its Twitter account, despite having 8.8m followers.

Musk later reacted to the development with tweets criticising the outlet and accusing it of inaccurately describing its funding model beforehand.
NPR describes itself as “an independent, non-profit media organisation.” It operates on a mixed-funding model with corporate sponsorships, fees paid by NPR member organisations and donations.

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The BBC also disputed the same “government-funded media” label added to its BBC account, which Twitter has now removed. The news outlet works through a Royal Charter with the UK government, which emphasises the corporation “must be independent.” As a result, UK households fund their public-service output via a TV licence fee and income from commercial operations.


Stephanie Edgerly, a researcher and journalism professor on audience insight at Northwestern University, stated NPR’s decision to quit Twitter was a “bold move.” She added that news outlets have grappled with how to effectively operate on social media, especially when news posts can appear side-by-side with unmoderated content and misinformation.

Working with social media platforms over time has been beneficial. Still, according to Edgerly, the partnerships at Twitter “have been crumbling” recently. Concerning whether other news organisations may follow NPR in pausing their activity on Twitter, Edgerly thinks that NPR’s not-for-profit status may have made it easier for it to quit the platform.

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Picture: Twitter / NPRinskeep

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