US radio broadcaster NPR said it was quitting Twitter, in the first significant defection by a major news outlet since Elon Musk’s tumultuous takeover of the platform. The exit caps a week-long row over Twitter’s decision to label National Public Radio as a “state-affiliated media,” branding it the same way as it does as major media outlets in authoritarian countries such as Russia or China.
Highly-respected in the United States, NPR had already suspend tweets from its main account as it wait for Twitter to change course, which it did only by modifying its label for NPR to “government-funded media,” a tag it also applied to Britain’s BBC.
In a short statement, NPR said all its organizational accounts “will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.”
It added that “there are plenty of ways to stay connected and keep up with NPR’s news, music, and cultural content,” urging users to other platforms, which it link to in a final tweet.
Elon Musk has express deep disdain for news media for years and recently install an automatic response of a poop emoji to email inquiries from journalists.
“Defund @NPR,” Elon Musk tweeted Wednesday afternoon, referencing the activist movement to “defund the police.“
News organizations have struggle to wean themselves from the platform, which remains a main communication exchange for celebrities, politicians and pundits.
A spokeswoman for NPR told AFP that its journalists, as well as its affiliate radio stations “will be able to decide on their own if they want to stay on the platform.”
NPR’s departure came hours after Elon Musk indicate in a BBC interview that the label decision was a mistake and that he would consider changing it to “publicly-funded.”
Elon Musk also address Twitter’s controversial move to strip the New York Times of its blue verified check mark after the company refuse to pay to keep it.
From 20th April 2023, any legacy verified accounts on Twitter, which were establish as authentic under the company’s old ownership will have to pay to subscribe to Twitter Blue.
One of the reasons for this, Elon Musk said, was that he does not want Twitter to boost “some anointed class of journalists” who determine what constitutes news.
In the interview, Elon Musk said running the social media network has been “quite a rollercoaster” and acknowledge “many mistakes” along the way, six months after he bought the company for $44 billion.
Assessing his time in charge, Elon Musk said it had been “a stressful situation over the last several months.”
“Were there many mistakes made along the way? Of course,” Elon Musk said. “But all’s well that ends well. I feel like we’re headed to a good place.”
Elon Musk said the company was now “roughly breaking even” thanks in part to the crushing round of layoffs that slashed the payroll to 1,500 staff from 7,000 before the sale.
Elon Musk however push back at reports and studies that misinformation and hateful content were seeing a resurgence on the site since his takeover.
“You said you see more hateful content, but you can’t even name a single one,” Elon Musk said. “You just lied!”
Upholding his image as a hard-charging workaholic who sacrifices his personal life for his job, Elon Musk said he often slept on a couch at Twitter headquarters.
When push on who was Twitter’s new CEO after he pledge to find someone to fill the role, he name his dog, Floki.