PBS withdraws from Twitter after being labeled ‘government-funded media’
PBS has joined NPR in ceasing to tweet after Twitter labeled their accounts as “government-funded media.” The label, previously used for state-run outlets like China’s Xinhua News Agency and Russia’s RT and Sputnik, was deemed inaccurate by both organizations.
“We are continuing to monitor the ever-changing situation closely,” a PBS spokesperson told Variety, adding that they stopped tweeting when they learned of the change and have no plans to resume at this time.
According to PBS, federal funding accounts for 15% of public television system revenue, while the largest source of revenue, 31%, comes from donations from individuals. NPR reports that federal funding makes up less than 1% of its average annual budget, and the broadcaster chose to stop using Twitter to safeguard its credibility. NPR claims that the label implies government editorial influence, which conflicts with the organization’s status as a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence.