The feud between media companies and Elon Musk over Twitter verification badges doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. This time, further escalating things, Musk has apparently “threatened” to reassign the Twitter account of National Public Radio (NPR) to “another company.”
The US-based broadcaster revealed that it received a series of emails, wherein Musk suggested that he would transfer the network’s main account on Twitter, under the @NPR handle, to another organization or person, since NPR had ceased to post content on the micro-blogging site.
For those who missed it, NPR ceased posting content to its 52 official Twitter feeds last month in protest. The reason? Twitter falsely labeled it as a ‘state-affiliated media,’ which implied that there was government involvement in its editorial content. The BBC, Canada’s CBC, China’s Xinhua and the Global Times, and Russia’s RT were some of the others that had been assigned the “state-affiliated” and “government-funded” labels at that time, though they were quickly removed.
“So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?” read the email by Musk. In another email, he wrote that the company’s policy was to “recycle handles that are definitively dormant,” and that NPR would receive “no special treatment.” Twitter’s terms of service state that an account must be logged into at least every 30 days, and that its inactivity is based on logging in, not tweeting. If an account is inactive for a prolonged period of time, then it will be permanently removed from the platform.
Elon Musk and the media have locked horns multiple times – reporters who published or promoted stories critical of the Twitter chief found their accounts suspended, for example. The latest development simply escalated the billionaire’s battle with media outlets. That Musk would simply strip NPR of its Twitter handle because it had stopped tweeting, and suggest reassigning it to another company, is something that continues to add to the concerns of media companies regarding the Musk regime.
Social media experts agree that the reassigning of established accounts to third parties could have an adverse impact on the reputation of a company and poses a serious risk of impersonation, and the latest development is something that could entice media organizations and other brands to move to Twitter alternatives. The latter is something that grew on Twitter’s platform in leaps and bounds after Musk opened the verified Blue Tick checkmarks available for purchase, which further blurred the lines between what is real and what is fake for users and created further turmoil on a platform that is used extensively by media companies.