Elon Musk has threatened to reassign NPR’s Twitter username to someone else for being inactive. NPR claims Elon Musk is violating Twitter’s own terms of service.
Its terms of service clearly state, “Deactivation is based on logging in.”
By Abhik Sengupta: Elon Musk has threatened to reassign the Twitter handle of American media outlet NPR to a third-party user if the account remains inactive.
NPR reports that the company received a series of emails from Twitter’s owner saying the outlet would not receive any “special treatment” for being inactive. “Our policy is to recycle handles that are definitely inactive. Our policy is to recycle handles that are definitely inactive,” Musk sent an email to NPR.
Elon Musk and NPR have been at loggerheads since Twitter labeled the publication’s account “state-affiliated media” in April. While the label may seem harmless, many users see it as a derogatory tag for propaganda outlets affiliated with countries such as Russia, China, and others. NPR maintains that it is an independent organization with no interference from the US government in its editorial decisions.
Following a request from NPR, Twitter modified the label to “government funded media”, which the news outlet did not agree with. NPR’s Twitter account remains verified with blue ticks and no labels. However, the company has not tweeted since April 12.
NPR argues that reassignment of official accounts to third party users/organisations can have serious consequences. Handing over established accounts to third parties can pose a serious risk of impersonation and jeopardize a company’s reputation, the news outlet notes, citing social media experts.
NPR also claims that Elon Musk is contradicting Twitter’s own terms of service, which clearly states, “the deactivation is based on logging.” NPR notes that its Twitter account has been logged, but the company is not posting because it has “effectively quit.”
NPR states, “As is so often the case with Musk, it is unclear whether he will follow through on the threat.” -Building on Twitter.”
The publication was referring to Musk’s sudden email to Twitter employees just after midnight about the layoffs. The company has laid off more than 5,000 employees since the acquisition in late October. NPR also rejected Twitter’s old label, calling it a “government-funded organization”. The news outlet states that it is a private, non-profit company with editorial independence.
Elon Musk has repeatedly said he wants Twitter to be a platform protecting free speech, but some believe he has contradicted his stance. In December, the platform suspended the accounts of journalists from well-known publications including CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Independent after they allegedly posed a risk to Musk’s privacy.
Twitter restored their accounts within a day. Twitter has also faced criticism from critics in India over a BBC documentary about PM Narendra Modi.