Twitter labels BBC as “government-funded media”
10 April, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma
Elon Musk has sparked a feud with the BBC after referring to the broadcaster as a "government-funded media" organisation; however, Britain's national broadcaster was quick to respond.
Elon Musk has sparked a feud with the BBC after referring to the broadcaster as a “government-funded media” organisation; however, Britain’s national broadcaster was quick to respond, according to CNN.
The label is now seen on broadcasters that receive government funding, such as the BBC, PBS, NPR, and Voice of America. Other government-backed outlets, such as Canada’s CBC or Qatar’s Al Jazeera, do not carry it.
The @BBC account – which has 2.2 million followers – is currently branded as government funded. The label has not been given to the BBC’s other accounts, including BBC News (World) and BBC Breaking News, reported CNN.
Twitter has not given a definition for what it considers “government-funded media” to constitute.
In a statement provided to CNN, the BBC said, “We are speaking to Twitter to resolve this issue as soon as possible. The BBC is and always has been, independent. We are funded by the British public through the licence fee.”
The BBC is primarily supported by UK households through a licence fee, which is also required to view non-BBC channels or live services. This is supplemented by revenue generated by commercial operations.
The BBC’s branding follows a spat between Musk and the American NPR network after Musk changed NPR’s label to “state-affiliated media,” effectively implying that the US government could influence its editorial policy and comparing it to Kremlin-funded Russia Today.
Following backlash from NPR, which stated that it would not tweet from the account while the label was in place, the label was changed to “government-funded media,” according to CNN.
The label from Twitter even sparked a backlash from the White House, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying “there’s no doubt of the independence of NPR’s journalists.”
NPR receives some funding from public institutions but the vast majority comes from sources such as corporate sponsorships and NPR membership fees.
Twitter defines state-affiliated media outlets 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.”
Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s other companies, Tesla and SpaceX, have received billions in government funding, grants, and subsidies over the years, but neither has a “government-funded” label on their Twitter accounts, according to The Hill.