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Twitter removes ‘Government-Funded’ label from media accounts and revokes verified badges from prominent figures

Twitter dropped the “Government-funded ” label from the accounts of U.S.-based National Public Radio (NPR), British Broadcasting Corp, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). It also dropped the “China state-affiliated media” tag on the accounts of Xinhua News as well as of journalists associated with government-backed publications.

While Chinese publishers’ accounts, including those of their senior staff as well as some key government officials, started getting the label in 2020, the likes of NPR and CBC were labeled only earlier this month. That led NPR and CBC to stop posting to their Twitter accounts, arguing that the label did not accurately capture their governance structure.

In a BBC interview last week, Twitter’s billionaire owner Elon Musk said the social media platform was trying to be “accurate” and looking into amending the label. “Our goal is simply to be as truthful and accurate as possible. We’re adjusting the label to be ‘publicly funded’, which I think is perhaps not too objectionable,” Musk had said. Twitter, NPR, CBC, and BBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the removal of the tag.

On Thursday, Twitter removed the verified blue tick from the profiles of thousands of individuals, including prominent politicians like Hillary Clinton, celebrities, and journalists. Among those who lost their verification badges were former US President Donald Trump, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, reality TV star Kim Kardashian and pop star Beyoncé, as well as footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.


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