The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has stopped tweeting from its primary Twitter account after it was given a “government-funded media” label. As of this writing the @PBS account hasn’t tweeted since April 8th, and the organization has since confirmed that it currently has “no plans” to resume posting to Twitter.
“PBS stopped tweeting from our account when we learned of the change and we have no plans to resume at this time,” PBS spokesman Jason Phelps tells Bloomberg. “We are continuing to monitor the ever-changing situation closely.” While PBS isn’t tweeting from its main account, it’s continued to put out content on affiliated accounts like @NewsHour, which have not had the “government-funded” label applied.
“PBS stopped tweeting from our account when we learned of the change”
The decision by the public broadcaster follows a similar move made by National Public Radio (NPR), which officially announced it would be leaving Twitter after being labeled as government funded. Twitter initially labeled NPR as “US state-affiliated media,” using terminology usually reserved for state-backed outlets that aren’t editorially independent like RT or China’s Xinhua News. It later changed the label to “government-funded media.”
“We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence,” NPR CEO John Lansing said in a memo to staff.
Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk, who has long had an antagonistic relationship with the media, has doubled down on the decision to apply the labels to US public broadcasters. In a series of tweets, Musk called for NPR to be defunded and said that the organization was hypocritical for calling its federal funding essential while also promoting its own editorial independence.