Canada's public broadcaster says it's suspending its use of Twitter following the social media platform's decision to label the outlet's main account as “government-funded media.”
“Our journalism is impartial and independent,” a statement posted to the CBC/Radio-Canada reads. “To suggest otherwise is untrue. That is why we are pausing our activities on Twitter.”
Twitter placed the new label on the CBC's main account, which has more than 700,000 followers. The announcement was made on the CBC/Radio-Canada account, which has a much smaller number of followers at just under 32,000.
Similar decisions have been made by the platform recently, with U.S. public broadcaster National Public Radio (NPR) receiving the same label last week. NPR and fellow publicly-funded broadcaster PBS both vowed to leave the platform in response.
On April 11, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre called on Twitter to give CBC the same designation. Poilievre, who has called for a complete defunding of the CBC's English-language content, encouraged Twitter boss Elon Musk to “accurately label CBC as ‘government-funded media’.”
“It is a fact. And Canadians deserve the facts,” he added.
Responding to the Opposition leaders plea to Musk, CBC released a statement attempting to defend its journalistic integrity:
Yesterday, a letter to Twitterurged the platform to “apply the Government-funded Media label to the CBC’s various news-related accounts.”
We can’t comment on the motives behind the letter.
Twitter’s own policy defines government-funded media as cases where the government “may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content,” which is clearly not the case with CBC/Radio-Canada.
As every Canadian knows, CBC/Radio-Canada is publicly funded. Its editorial independence is protected by law in the Broadcasting Act.
Last November, after Musk's takeover of the company, the government's preferred media partner, Cossette, advised the federal government to pause activity on Twitter following mass layoffs.
As of yet, it's unclear if the CBC's decision will impact all of its accounts, or just the CBC/Radio-Canada account, though its worth noting that a vast number of the government-funded broadcaster's officially-linked accounts have chosen to pay for a premium “gold checkmark” verification on Twitter.