National Public Radio (NPR), an American nonprofit media organization, Wednesday announced its 52 accounts will go silent on Twitter after being labelled “state-affiliated media.” This is the same label Twitter gives to state propaganda platforms in autocratic countries, including Russia and China.
NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik said the designation “denigrates [NPR’s] credibility and undercuts the work of [its] reporters.” He reasoned that because NPR is a private nonprofit corporation independent of the government with independent editorial discretion, the label is misleading.
Prior to making the decision to leave the social media platform, NPR leadership addressed the label with Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who then changed NPR’s label to “government-funded.” Because less than 1% of NPR’s funding is from federal sources, NPR leadership also found the new title to be misleading. Ultimately, NPR’s chief executive made the decision to quit Twitter due to a lack of faith in Musk’s leadership.
In response to NPR’s exit, Musk took to Twitter to taunt the media organization’s decision. He pointed to NPR’s statement that “federal funding is essential to public radio’s service to the American people . . .” before calling NPR “hypocrites.”
NPR is not the first organization to pull back from Twitter. Their decision comes as a number of organizations and companies are reassessing their presence on the platform. A November 2022 report from Media Matters for America shows that half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers at the time have either formally announced an exit from Twitter or seemingly stopped using paid advertisements on the platform since Musk’s takeover as CEO.