Twitter adds warning label to Australian and NZ government-funded media

Twitter boss Elon Musk continues to roll out disclosure labels as public media groups protest changes, threaten to leave platform.

Twitter adds warning label to Australian and NZ government-funded media
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The Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) is the most recent government-funded media outlet to have its Twitter account labeled with "Government-funded Media" by the social media platform.

Elon Musk, Twitter's owner, initiated these disclosures to offer "additional context" to users regarding government accounts after growing calls for greater transparency.

The label has also been applied to Australia's SBS and New Zealand's Radio NZ accounts.

From this point on, all tweets from government-funded accounts will feature this banner. Although the ABC has not yet confirmed whether it will leave Twitter, it has previously expressed its willingness to do so. ABC had considered exiting the platform following Musk's controversial $44 billion acquisition of Twitter.

Public media organisations in the United States and the United Kingdom have also faced similar backlash. The BBC contested the label, insisting that it is funded by the British public, not the government. In a statement, the BBC maintained its independence, funded by the British public through the license fee.

Musk defended Twitter's decision to attach funding warnings, stating, "We are aiming for maximum transparency and accuracy. Linking to ownership and source of funds probably makes sense." He acknowledged that all media organisations have biases, but he commended the BBC as being among the least biased.

However, Musk later changed his stance in a BBC interview, agreeing to adjust the label to "publicly funded." He acknowledged the BBC's discontent with being labeled as state-affiliated media.

The US public radio network NPR also opposed its initial designation as "US state-affiliated media" before Musk relented and changed it to "government-funded media." In response, NPR announced it would "officially de-emphasise" Twitter across all 52 of its feeds, refusing to post new content in protest.

PBS soon followed suit, with a spokesperson telling USA Today that the "simplistic" label created the misconception that the organization was solely funded by the federal government.

As part of the rollout, Twitter has also identified the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s primary Twitter account as “Government-funded Media.”

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  • By Avi Yemini

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