Twitter drops ‘state-affiliated’, ‘government-funded’ labels

China’s Xinhua and Russia’s RT no longer labelled as state media after unannounced changes.

Twitter has dropped its 'state-affiliated' and 'government-funded' labels for media outlets [File: Jeff Chiu/AP]

Twitter has ditched its “state-affiliated” and “government-funded” labels for media outlets in the latest sweeping change at the influential social media platform.

China’s Xinhua and the Global Times, and Russia’s RT were as of Friday no longer identified as state-affiliated media following the changes, which were not announced.

Publicly funded Western outlets including National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States, the BBC in the UK, and Canada’s CBC no longer had a “government-funded” label.

A Twitter page outlining the platform’s policies on state-backed media appeared to have been deleted.

The latest changes follow weeks of controversy over Twitter’s labelling of state-run and state-funded media accounts under Elon Musk’s ownership.

New Zealand’s public radio broadcaster on Monday threatened to leave the site after protesting that the “government-funded” label wrongly suggested that the New Zealand government exerted influence over its editorial content.

NPR and the Public Broadcasting Service announced in recent days they would no longer post on the site in protest of what they have described as Musk’s efforts to undermine their legitimacy.

Before Musk’s $44bn purchase of Twitter last year, the “state-affiliated media” label had been reserved for government mouthpieces such as China’s Xinhua and Russia’s RT.

Twitter earlier this month briefly added a “state-affiliated media” label to NPR, which receives public funding but does carry critical coverage of US government policies, prompting condemnation from the broadcaster and its supporters.

Musk later suggested the decision was a mistake, admitting it “might not be accurate” to describe NPR as state media.

Source: Al Jazeera