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Mahmoud Bennett

Social Media Producer/Reporter

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Tech

NPR challenges Musk’s Twitter over ‘state-affiliated’ label on account

Apr 07, 2023

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Mahmoud Bennett

Social Media Producer/Reporter

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MediaMiss™This story is a Media Miss by the right as only 30% of the coverage is from right leaning media.

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NPR, a nonprofit media organization in the United States, expressed its frustration with Twitter after its official account was labeled as “US state-affiliated” on the social media platform. Although the designation does not restrict NPR’s ability to post content, it puts NPR in the same category as government-aligned outlets in countries such as China and Russia, seemingly branding NPR as a U.S. government mouthpiece.

Twitter’s policy previously exempted media organizations with editorial independence, like NPR, from receiving such a label. However, Twitter deleted this section of its policy and seemingly updated it after users pointed out the inconsistency. NPR currently receives about 1% of its funding from the U.S. federal government. The organization emphasizes that the vast majority of its funding comes from other sources and that it is free from government influence.

Despite calls in recent years from Republicans to defund NPR over perceived biases, the organization maintains that it reports independently.

John Lansing, NPR’s president and chief executive, said in a statement that he was “disturbed” that Twitter has flagged the network as a state-affiliated news organization. “It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way,” Lansing added, as reported by NPR.

Elon Musk, who initially called the labeling accurate, later told NPR that it might not have been accurate and that it would be evaluated. Currently, other media outlets that receive U.S. funding, such as Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, have not been labeled as state-affiliated media by Twitter.

Musk has told NPR that “the operating principle at new Twitter is simply fair and equal treatment.” NPR has not sent a tweet from its official account since Twitter affixed the label.

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NPR IS LASHING OUT AT TWITTER AFTER IT’S ACCOUNT WAS SLAPPED WITH A STATE AFFILIATED LABEL ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM

THAT DESIGNATION DOESN’T RESTRICT WHAT NPR CAN POST – BUT IT ESSENTIALLY PUTS NPR IN THE SAME CATEGORY AS OTHER GOVERNMENT ALIGNED OUTLETS IN CHINA AND RUSSIA – SEEMINGLY BRANDING NPR A US GOVERNMENT MOUTHPIECE 

TWITTER’S OFFICIAL POLICY HAS BEEN THAT MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS WITH EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE LIKE NPR WOULD NOT GET SUCH A LABEL – AND AFTER USERS POINTED THIS OUT, THAT SECTION OF THE POLICY WAS DELETED

FOR CONTEXT, NPR DOES RECEIVE ABOUT 1% OF ITS FUNDING FROM THE U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

WHILE REPUBLICANS IN RECENT YEARS HAVE CALLED TO DEFUND NPR OVER PERCEIVED BIASES – NPR SAYS THE VAST MAJORITY OF ITS FUNDING COMES FROM OTHER SOURCES AND THAT ITS FREE FROM GOVERNMENT INFLUENCE

NPR’S CEO CALLED THE MOVE TO LABEL IT AS STATE MEDIA UNACCEPTABLE. 

AND AFTER PROVIDING TWITTER OWNER ELON MUSK WITH THEIR FINANCIAL BREAKDOWNS, MUSK WHO PREVIOUSLY CALLED THE DESIGNATION ACCURATE, LATER TOLD NPR IT MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN ACCURATE AND THAT IT WILL BE EVALUATED

CURRENTLY, OTHER MEDIA OUTLETS LIKE VOICE OF AMERICA AND RADIO FREE EUROPE, WHICH ALSO RECEIVE US FUNDING, HAVE NOT BEEN LABELED AS STATE-AFFILIATED MEDIA BY TWITTER 

ELON MUSK TOLD NPR QUOTE THE OPERATING PRINCIPLE AT NEW TWITTER IS SIMPLY FAIR AND EQUAL TREATMENT