(New York) American public radio NPR on Wednesday became the first major media outlet to quit Twitter in protest at the network’s new policies, the day its boss, Elon Musk, admitted “mistakes” since his arrival.
Known and respected in the United States, where it claims 46 million listeners and readers per week on its stations, podcasts and websites, National Public Radio has announced that its “accounts […] will no longer be active on Twitter”, accusing the network of taking actions that “undermine our credibility”.
In question ? Twitter’s decision last week to affix NPR, which claims editorial independence, with the label of “U.S. state-affiliated media,” a label that puts it on the same level as Russian outlets like Russia Today (RT) or Sputnik.
At first, Elon Musk, who willingly displays his contempt for the media, had assumed a “ just ” change. Then Twitter took a step back, adopting for the NPR and for the British BBC, which complained about it, the label of “media financed by government funds”.
Because we must “protect Canadians against misinformation and manipulation by state media”, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre asks Twitter boss Elon Musk to label CBC as an organization funded by the Government of Canada.
CBC is a “government-funded media”, “it’s a fact, and Canadians deserve the facts”, writes Pierre Poilievre in a tweet that caps a letter dated April 11 that he addresses to Twitter headquarters at San Francisco, California.
Still false according to NPR, which ensures that less than 1% of its operating budget comes from federal sources, its funds coming mainly from advertising, sponsorship, and financial participation from its member radios.
Asked by AFP, a spokeswoman for NPR clarified that journalists and its member stations, “ can decide for themselves if they want to stay on the platform ”.
American radio, whose main account on Twitter had 8.8 million subscribers on Wednesday, encouraged its listeners to follow it on other social media platforms.
This departure of Twitter, the first of a major media, comes against the backdrop of the establishment of a controversial new certification policy, the network granting from April 20 its famous blue mark to those who will pay to use it. .
At the beginning of April, she withdrew this brand from the main account of the New York Times (55 million subscribers), in another gesture of defiance towards a respected media, but considered too left by some of the conservatives.
Asked by AFP, the Twitter press service returned, as is now the habit, an emoticon in the shape of excrement.
On Wednesday, in a surprise interview with the BBC, Elon Musk admitted “many mistakes” six months after buying the company for 44 billion dollars, while assuring that the company was now “in the right direction “.
He notably conceded that the label of the BBC was going to be changed to that of “funded by public funds” (and no longer “government”).
Since he bought the blue bird, Elon Musk has relaxed the moderation of content on the network, letting back many users banned because of hateful or misinformation messages. He also laid off with a vengeance, reducing the group’s workforce from 7,500 to less than 2,000 employees.
According to the specialized firm Insider Intelligence, Twitter’s revenues are expected to plunge by almost a third in 2023, to less than 3 billion dollars, against 4.14 billion in 2022, due in particular to a drop in advertising revenues.
On the BBC, Elon Musk assured on the contrary that the company saw advertisers return and was “roughly at the break-even point”. By the way, he indicated that he had respected the results of a survey on the platform which demanded his departure, since now the new CEO of Twitter is his dog Floki.