NPR will no longer post fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds, becoming the first major news organization to go silent on the social media platform. In explaining its decision, NPR cited Twitter’s decision to first label the network “state-affiliated media,” the same term it uses for propaganda outlets in Russia, China and other autocratic countries.
The decision by Twitter last week took the public radio network off guard. When queried by NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn, Twitter owner Elon Musk asked how NPR functioned. Musk allowed that he might have gotten it wrong.
Twitter then revised its label on NPR’s account to “government-funded media.” The news organization says that is inaccurate and misleading, given that NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence. It receives less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
By going silent on Twitter, NPR’s chief executive says the network is protecting its credibility and its ability to produce journalism without “a shadow of negativity.”
“The downside, whatever the downside, doesn’t change that fact,” NPR CEO John Lansing said in an interview. “I would never have our content go anywhere that would risk our credibility.”
In a BBC interview posted online Wednesday, Musk suggested he may further change the label to “publicly funded.” His words did not sway NPR’s decision makers. Even if Twitter were to drop the designation altogether, Lansing says the network will not immediately return to the platform.
“At this point I have lost my faith in the decision-making at Twitter,” he says. “I would need some time to understand whether Twitter can be trusted again.” [Continue reading…]