Twitter labeled National Public Radio “state-affiliated media,” a move some worried Wednesday could undermine public trust in the news organization.


NEW YORK — Twitter has labeled National Public Radio as “state-affiliated media” on the social networking site, a move some feared Wednesday could undermine public trust in the news organization.

NPR said it was upset to see the description added to every tweet it sends, with John Lansing, its president and CEO, calling it “unacceptable to Twitter to label us this way.”

It was not clear why Twitter made the move. Twitter Owner, Elon Muskit cited a definition of state-affiliated media in the company’s guidelines as “media where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressure, and/or control over production and distribution.”

“Seems accurate,” Musk tweeted in response to NPR.

NPR receives funding from the US government through grants from federal departments and agencies, along with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The company said it represents less than 1% of NPR’s annual operating budget. But as of Wednesday, the same Twitter guidelines said that “state-funded media organizations with editorial independence, such as the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US, are not defined as state-affiliated media for the purposes of of this policy”.

NPR has now been removed from that sentence on the Twitter website.

When asked for comment, Twitter’s press office responded with an automated poop emoji.

The move came just days after Twitter stripped the New York Times of its checkmark.

“NPR and our member stations are supported by the millions of listeners who depend on us for the independent, fact-based journalism we provide,” Lansing said. “NPR stands for free speech and holding the powerful accountable.”

The literary organization PEN America, in calling on Twitter to reverse the measure, stressed that NPR “assiduously maintains editorial independence.”

Liz Woolery, PEN America’s digital policy lead, said Twitter’s decision was “a dangerous move that could further undermine public trust in trusted news sources.”

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