Twitter on Tuesday evening labeled the account of National Public Radio (NPR) as US state-affiliated media, drawing fierce criticism from the news organization’s leadership.
Other publications with the label include Russian propaganda network RT and China’s Xinhua News Agency.
The change to NPR’s designation appears to be in violation of Twitter’s own original policy on how the social media platform determines which companies receive this label. “State-affiliated media is defined as outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution,” the policy reads.
Up until a few hours ago, Twitter explicitly listed NPR along with the BBC as exceptions to this categorization. The policy noted that while both organizations receive state financing – NPR derives less than 1% of its annual operating budget from government programs – they have editorial independence, according to screenshots posted by NPR reporter David Gura.
By Wednesday morning, however, the policy had been changed to remove the mention of NPR. The designation of the BBC’s Twitter account remained unchanged, and the organization was still included as an exception in the policy.
The Twitter accounts of other publications that receive various degrees of state-funding, such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Flemish VRT NWS, have also been left untouched.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. Instead, the Guardian received an automated message with a poop emoji.
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