Twitter has removed the "government-funded media" labels from high-profile media accounts, including NPR and Canada's CBC, following a dispute between the social media platform and several broadcasters. This change occurred after the mass removal of blue ticks on Thursday, which previously signified verified accounts.
The decision came as a result of an ongoing conflict with news outlets such as the BBC, which complained last week about being labeled as "government funded" instead of "publicly funded." Labels indicating funding origins for major organizations like China's official Xinhua news agency or Russia's RT have also been removed.
As part of this controversy, Twitter CEO Elon Musk engaged in an online spat with US broadcaster NPR. In response to their boycott of the platform over its labeling practices, Musk called to "defund NPR" and strip it of federal funding. With all tags gone by Friday, it remains uncertain whether these broadcasters will return to using Twitter.
In addition to removing government-funded labels from news outlets like NPR and CBC, other global media organizations no longer carry state-affiliated designations. At the same time, Twitter stripped blue verification checkmarks from legacy verified accounts that did not subscribe to its premium service – Twitter Blue.
This move led some high-profile users to express concerns about authenticating accurate information sources and potential risks associated with impersonation on the platform. The relaunched service now costs $11 per month for iPhone or Android app users and $8 per month for others.
According to research by Travis Brown—a Berlin-based developer specializing in social media tracking software—less than five percent of verified accounts have joined Twitter Blue so far. Verified organizations are asked to pay $1,000 a month for increased exposure while advertising revenue continues driving most profits for the platform.
Despite criticism over these changes on how certain profiles are represented on its site; Tesla CEO Elon Musk's company maintains that this move is intended to prevent potential misinformation and promote transparency in the media landscape.