Twitter Drops ‘Government-Funded’ Label on News Organizations’ Profiles

Twitter Drops ‘Government-Funded’ Label on News Organizations’ Profiles
In this photo illustration the Twitter logo is seen on a computer screen and mobile cellphone in Knutsford, U.K., on April 21, 2023. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Twitter stopped using the “Government-funded” and “China state-affiliated” labels for news organizations, their profiles showed on Friday.

Twitter dropped the “Government-funded Media” label from the accounts of U.S.-based National Public Radio (NPR), British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC), and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

It also dropped the “China state-affiliated media” tag on the accounts of Xinhua News, as well as of journalists associated with government-backed publications.

While Chinese publishers’ accounts, including those of their senior staff as well as of some key government officials, started getting the label in 2020, the likes of NPR and CBC were labeled only earlier this month.

NTD Photo
CBC’s Twitter profile before the “Government-funded” label was removed. (Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

NPR and CBC stopped posting on their accounts after that, saying the label was not accurate. CBC posted that it was 69 percent funded by the government, and that was the reason it said the “Government-funded” label was not accurate. Twitter later changed the label to “69% Government-funded,” before dropping it altogether.

CBC also made a post with the CBC profile link in other social media, so that readers could access CBC outside “the realms of Twitter.”

The implication of the “Government-funded” label was that these media were not credible.

In a BBC interview last week, Twitter CEO Elon Musk said the social media platform was trying to be “accurate” and looking into amending the label.

“Our goal is simply to be as truthful and accurate as possible. We’re adjusting the label to be ‘publicly funded,’ which I think is perhaps not too objectionable,” Musk had said.

BBC is funded by a taxpayer fee. This fee raised £3.8 billion in 2022 for the BBC, accounting for about 71 percent of the BBC’s total income of £5.3 billion.

Before the label was removed, Musk had emailed BBC, writing: “We are aiming for maximum transparency and accuracy. Linking to ownership and source of funds probably makes sense.”

Twitter, NPR, CBC, and BBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the removal of the tag.

Twitter on Thursday also removed the legacy verified blue tick from the profile of thousands of people, including celebrities, journalists, and prominent politicians, such as Hillary Clinton.

Among those losing their badges were former president Donald Trump, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, and reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

Meanwhile, Musk also said in the BBC interview last week that the social media company is “roughly breaking even,” as most of its advertisers have returned and its aggressive cost-cutting efforts have started bearing fruit after large-scale layoffs.

Musk had said in December that Twitter was on track to be “roughly cash flow break-even” in 2023 as top advertisers slashed their spending on the social media platform after the billionaire’s takeover.

He said Twitter was in a $3 billion negative cash-flow situation and had to take drastic actions, referring to its large-scale layoffs.

“We could be cash-flow positive this quarter if things go well,” he said in the interview that attracted more than three million listeners, adding the company currently has all-time high user numbers.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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