Social media networking platform Twitter labels the accounts of media organizations as government-funded media. National Public Radio (NPR) was on the top list of organizations that got a label change.
Others were the British broadcaster BBC, the television and broadcasting network PBS, and the American international radio broadcaster Voice of America.
It was not the first time the status of NPR has been changed by Twitter. Earlier Twitter had labeled it state-affiliated media. The label appeared beside the media accounts on Sunday.
Twitter labels appear next to the profile page of the respected Twitter account and also next to the tweets posted or retweeted by these accounts.
The label will have additional information about the country or territory from which the account is functioning. There will be an ‘info’ option next to the label and by clicking on it the user will be automatically redirected to a page that will contain the detail about the label.
According to the report from a mainstream media house, clicking the label beside NPR and BBC Twitter redirected to a page. However, it did not have a definition for what it considers government-funded media to be.
When the definition was requested through an email Twitter replied with an automatic response that contained only a poo emoji.
How Did NPR React To The ‘Government-Funded Media’ Label?
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Public Radio is a non-profit media organization. John Lansing, the President and CEO of NPR spoke for the organization and expressed disapproval of the new label.
He said that NPR stands for freedom of speech and to hold the powerful accountable for corrupted acts, if any. He viewed a free press with a vigorous, and vibrant nature as an essential part to maintain a healthy democracy. Lansing added that it was unacceptable for Twitter to label his channel the way it has been labeled.
It was reported that the NPR officials had directly contacted the Twitter administration and asked to remove the ‘false’ label. After presenting this demand to Twitter an NPR spokesperson appeared before the media to share the latest news.
As per this spokesperson, it was known that NPR had made a decision to not tweet from the account until the issue was resolved. The spokesperson took time to clarify that it was a form of protest but not a kind of boycott.
Previously NPR was labeled by Twitter as state-affiliated media to which the organization strongly protested. The widespread criticism that Twitter received was just dying down when it approached in a different way by slightly tweaking the label.
The first time NPR has sent an email to Elon Musk, the Chief Executive Officer of Twitter. Musk replied that the label might not be accurate and that he was still in the middle of evaluating the case. He seemed a bit unsure of the meaning of the term state-affiliated media outlet.
The media organization on its Twitter handle had more than 8.8 million followers when the label appeared for the first time.
In fact, the operations of NPR are independent of the governance of the U.S. federal administration and the media organization receives far less than one percent of its yearly annual budget from federal resources. NPR informed the same to Musk to which he responded that he will act in order to fix the label.
How Did BBC React To The ‘Government-Funded Media’ Label?
The British Broadcasting Corporation was one among the platforms that decided to act back. BBC was quick enough to condemn the action and appointed a spokesperson to provide its comment on the issue.
BBC said that it was and always has been an independent organization. For the BBC, the spokesperson added that the platform was funded by the people of Britain through the license fee.
The broadcaster is an international service provider and operates under the set of rules established by the government of the United Kingdom. These rules have set the license fee as £159 which is paid every year by the households and businesses that use the live television and iPlayer services.
Twitter’s Definition For State-Affiliated Media Labels
The Bluebird defines state-affiliated media labels as the ones given to media outlets. These are given to the ones over which the state has control over the editorial content by aiding with financial resources.
The outlets over which the state has control by applying direct or indirect political pressures and or control over the production and distribution also come under the label.
Twitter says that the accounts that belong to state-affiliated media entities, the editor-in-chief of these media entities, and prominent staff of the entities, will have the same label.
The platform has also said the same labels will be also applied to tweets that share links to state-affiliated media websites. Twitter has added other labels also to the accounts. If the account belongs to a US government body it will have the label US Government Organization.
If the account belongs to someone who is a part of the government, for example, the President, or a mayor, or a rep, it will have the label that reads US Government Official.
Twitter has established that the label of the state-affiliated media account is to provide additional context about the accounts that are controlled by particular official representatives of governments, individuals, and state-affiliated media entities that are associated with those entities.