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PBS follows NPR and leaves Twitter over ‘government-funded’ labels

Published Apr 13th, 2023 6:17PM EDT
Twitter hack
Image: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

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Do you know PBS? The home of Elmo? You won’t find those characters on Twitter anymore… at least from the official PBS accounts.

Earlier this week, NPR announced that it was leaving Twitter over the “government-funded” labels tagged on its accounts. At the time the company announced it was leaving, NPR CEO John Lansing said that “it would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards.”

NPR argued that this was inaccurate to label its accounts “government-funded” due to the fact the company is a private nonprofit with editorial independence and only receives less than 1% of its funding from programs by the United States government. Despite Elon Musk mentioning that labeling the accounts “publicly funded” might be a solution, the company decided to just leave the platform altogether. Musk then called to defund NPR.

Well, it looks like PBS has the same thoughts as NPR does. PBS has also confirmed that it has, for now, stopped posting to Twitter. In a statement to USA Today, a spokesperson for the company said that “PBS’s editorial independence is central to our work, and will never change. We will continue to produce trustworthy content that features unbiased reporting and holds governments and institutions to account.”

Jason Phelps, senior director of external communications for PBS, said that “Twitter’s simplistic label leaves the inaccurate impression that PBS is wholly funded by the federal government” and that we have no plans to resume at this time. We are continuing to monitor the ever-changing situation closely.”

It sounds like the ball is in Twitter’s court as to whether they want to go for generalities or precision when it comes to its labeling. Precision seems the way to go because it’s hard to argue against PBS and NPR’s points. If they’re looking for an alternative, maybe check out Notes on Substack.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.