Twitter has made changes to how it labels NPR’s Twitter account, which has raised questions about the classification of the media outlet. Initially labeled as “US state-affiliated” earlier this week, the label has now been changed to “government funded,” according to NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn, who first reported on the change. Allyn also noted that Tesla, a company that has received substantial government subsidies, does not have any similar label on its Twitter account.
This change comes after NPR CEO John Lansing issued a statement clarifying that the “state-affiliate” label did not apply to NPR under Twitter’s own guidelines. Twitter had previously defined state-financed media organizations with editorial independence, such as the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US, as not being state-affiliated media. However, the section of text referencing NPR was removed from the guidelines on Wednesday.
NPR has stated that less than one percent of its annual operating budget comes from government grants, with the majority of its revenue, around 70 percent, coming from corporate sponsorships and programming fees over the last five years.
The change in labeling has raised questions about how Twitter determines and applies such designations to media accounts, and the implications it may have on the perception and credibility of media outlets. As NPR continues to assert its editorial independence, this development highlights the evolving landscape of media labeling on social media platforms and the need for clear and consistent guidelines in determining the affiliation and funding of media organizations.