April 21, 2023 08:07
Sweden's public radio said this week that it would stop being active on Twitter, but it did not blame new labels that Elon Musk 's social media platform has slapped on public broadcasters, leading some major North American outlets to quit tweeting.
Sveriges Radio said on its blog that Twitter has lost its relevance to Swedish audiences. National Public Radio and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, meanwhile, have pointed to Twitter's new policy of labeling them as government-funded institutions, saying it undermines their credibility.
"For a long time, Sveriges Radio has de-prioritized its presence on Twitter and has now made the decision to completely stop being active on the platform, at the same time that we are shutting down a number of accounts," said Christian Gillinger, head of the broadcaster's social media activities.
He cited a recent study showing only some 7 percent of Swedes are on Twitter daily and said the platform "has simply changed over the years and become less important for us."
"The audience has simply chosen other places to be. And, therefore, Sveriges Radio now chooses to deactivate or delete the last remaining accounts," Gillinger said.
The broadcaster's news service, SR Ekot, which has been labeled "publicly funded media," will remain on Twitter but has been marked inactive. Sveriges Radio, which has been active on Twitter since 2009, also noted the "recent turbulence" around Twitter's operations and said it was worrying that the social media platform has reduced its workforce "dramatically."
"We believe that it may in the long run affect the company's capacity to handle, for example, fake accounts, bots and disinformation but also hate messages and threats," Gillinger said.
The labels for public broadcasters have unleashed a new battle between reporters and Musk, who has said he wants to elevate the views and expertise of the "average citizen."
Canada's CBC said Monday that it would pause its activities on Twitter after it was labeled as "government-funded" because it "undermines the accuracy and professionalism" of its journalists' work "to allow our independence to be falsely described in this way."
U.S. broadcasters NPR and Public Broadcasting Service made similar decisions earlier this month for related reasons. CBC received C$1.24 billion ($925.86 million) in government funding in the 2022 financial year, compared with revenue from advertising, subscriptions and other sources of C$651.4 million ($485,000,000) according to its annual report, Reuters reported this week.
Reuters quoted Editor-in-Chief Brodie Fenlon as saying, "The real issue is that Twitter's definition of government-funded media means open to editorial interference by government. As the editor-in-chief of CBC News has said, the government has no -- zero -- involvement in our editorial content or journalism."
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