Twitter Removes “Government-Funded Media” Labels From NPR, PBS, Others After Backlash

Twitter has removed labels denoting “Government-Funded Media” for news outlets NPR, PBS, the BBC and others after criticisms from the organizations that the label is not and accurate representations of their editorial independence.

NPR and PBS both ceased posting after the labels appeared last week. Neither have resumed as of Saturday morning after the denotation was removed late Thursday.

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Also removed were “State-Funded” labels on international news outlets like RT in Russia and Xinhua in China.

Twitter owner Elon Musk, who has presided over several platform-shifting changes since acquiring the company for $44 billion, said in an interview with the BBC that the labels were an attempt at transparency, and to be “accurate.”

NPR on April 12 halted posting on its 52 official Twitter feeds after the label appeared. PBS followed suit soon after.

NPR reported that Musk told NPR reporter Bobby Allyn via email Friday morning that removing the labels “was Walter Isaacson’s suggestion.” Isaacson, the onetime chairman and CEO and of CNN and an acclaimed biographer, is working on a biography on Musk.

The latest rethink from Musk comes after Twitter this week began removing the blue check marks from verified account holders, including a large swath of the platform’s most high-profile users including journalists, celebrities, politicians, companies and even Pope Francis. Musk wants users to pay $8 monthly for the check.

Other color-coded options include a gold badge for business accounts ($1,000 a month) and a grey one for government-related entities. Some media organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and CNN, have also paid for a gold check.

Dade Hayes contributed to this report.

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