Twitter drops ‘government-funded’ label on media accounts, including in China

April 21, 2023 - 5:12 PM
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The Twitter app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken July 13, 2021. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

Twitter dropped the “Government-funded” and “China state-affiliated” labels, which implies government involvement in editorial content, from the accounts of various global media 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 and 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.

That led NPR and CBC to stop posting to their Twitter accounts, arguing that the label did not accurately capture their governance structure.

In a BBC interview last week, Twitter’s billionaire owner 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.

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.

READ: Pope loses verified status on Twitter, US basketball star LeBron James remains

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

Reporting by Jahnavi Nidumolu and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Savio D’Souza