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May 4, 2023

Musk threatens to reassign @NPR to 'another company' on Twitter

NPR had announced it would no longer tweet from its official Twitter accounts

Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, has threatened to transfer NPR's Twitter account to "another company" if the media organization doesn't start tweeting again. This comes after NPR stopped tweeting about three weeks ago due to its objections to labels applied to its account by Musk.

The tech mogul had labeled the news organization as "state-affiliated media," a designation typically applied to propaganda outlets controlled by governments in countries without substantial free press protections. The move contradicted Twitter's own policy that states that state-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like NPR, are not defined as state-affiliated media.

Musk later changed the label to "government-funded media," admitting that the first label "might not be accurate," but NPR had already decided to stop tweeting. NPR announced that Twitter "is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent."

In an "unprompted Tuesday email" to NPR reporter Bobby Allyn, Musk wrote, "So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?" according to an NPR news article by Allyn. However, Allyn pointed out that reassigning NPR's account solely for not tweeting would contradict Twitter's inactive account policy, which says that inactivity "is based on logging in," not on posting tweets.

While accounts "may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity," Twitter's policy states that users can keep their accounts active simply by logging in at least once every 30 days. When asked whether he planned to change the platform's definition of inactivity, Musk did not respond, nor did he explain what prompted his new questions about NPR's lack of participation on Twitter.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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