In an ongoing dispute with media organizations since his $44 billion purchase of Twitter last year, Elon Musk threatened to transfer NPR’s Twitter account to “another company,” according to the non-profit news organization.
So, will NPR resume posting on Twitter, or should @NPR be transferred to another organization? Musk sent a reporter from NPR named Bobby Allyn an email late on Tuesday.
After Twitter abruptly branded NPR’s main account as “state-affiliated media” last month, a term also used to describe media outlets controlled or significantly influenced by authoritarian governments, NPR abruptly stopped tweeting from its main account. The description on Twitter was afterward altered to “government-funded media.”
Both labels, according to NPR, are false and damage the organization’s credibility. NPR noted that the nonprofit news organization is independent of the US government. According to the organization, less than 1% of NPR’s yearly operational budget comes from federal funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
NPR’s main account hadn’t tweeted since April 12, when it published a list of other locations where readers and listeners can discover its journalism.
Other news outlets, such as the BBC and PBS, were briefly branded as “government-funded media” by Twitter. In consequence, PBS stopped using its Twitter account.
The NPR tech reporter Allyn described the communications the billionaire Twitter owner sent regarding NPR’s account in a story she wrote late on Tuesday.
Musk cited the decision of NPR to stop tweeting as justification for potentially reassigning the account.
In one email, Musk stated, “Our policy is to recycle dormant handles.” All accounts are subject to the same policy. There won’t be any favors for NPR.
As stated in Twitter’s online policy, the social media site evaluates an account’s inactivity based on logging in, not tweeting. To keep an account active, Twitter advises users to log in at least once every 30 days. Otherwise, “accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity.”
Despite Twitter’s published guidelines on account activity, there is uncertainty about whether Musk will reassign NPR’s handle because his statements and actions don’t always line up.
NPR reportedly asked Musk who would be willing to use NPR’s Twitter account, to which Musk responded, “National Pumpkin Radio,” accompanied with the emojis for fire and laughter.
It is uncertain if NPR has accessed its account since April, which now displays a blue check instead of the prior “government-funded media” label. Early on Wednesday, The Associated Press contacted NPR for comment.
After the takeover, Musk disbanded Twitter’s media and PR division.