Speed Reads

An NPR Exit

NPR quits Twitter following 'state-affiliated' label, says it 'undermines our credibility'

National Public Radio (NPR) said Wednesday it would no longer use Twitter, days after the Elon Musk-helmed social media company falsely labeled it as "U.S. state-affiliated media."

Twitter branded NPR's main account with this label on April 5, and The Associated Press noted that the term is "used to identify media outlets controlled or heavily influenced by authoritarian governments, such as Russia and China." Twitter has since backtracked a bit and changed NPR's label to "government-funded media."

However, NPR said in a statement that it "will no longer actively maintain its flagship Twitter (@NPR) or any other official NPR accounts, and we are officially deemphasizing Twitter across the organization." The company added that it had sent requests to Twitter asking the "government-funded media label," but has chosen to deplatform after Twitter denied these requests. NPR said that this label implies "government involvement over editorial content," and that it "is intended to call into question our editorial independence and undermine our credibility." Individual journalists with the company may decide on their own whether or not to keep using Twitter, NPR said. 

It is true that NPR does receive some government funding, despite being a nonprofit organization. However, according to financial statements from the company, "less than one percent of NPR's annual operating budget comes in the form of grants from...federal agencies and departments." The majority of its funding, NPR says, comes from "corporate sponsorships and fees paid by NPR Member organizations to support a suite of programs, tools, and services."

Since taking over Twitter, Musk has often been at odds with journalistic outlets. "Earlier this month, he removed the blue verification mark from The New York Times' main account, after the Times publicly said it would not pay for verification," The Washington Post noted, and has previously banned reporters from the Post, Times, and Voice of America, among others.