The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) announced on Monday it’s quitting Twitter after the public broadcaster was recently slapped with a “government-funded” label on the social media platform.
“Our journalism is impartial and independent. It is false to suggest anything else. That is why we are pausing our activities on @Twitter,” one of the CBC’s several verified accounts tweeted on Monday.
The CBC protested the move over the weekend, pointing out that Twitter’s own published rules define “government-funded” not simply as a financial arrangement with the government, but one in which there may be “varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content.” The CBC has editorial independence over its content, something that’s not true of some government-funded broadcasters in authoritarian countries.
CBC’s last Twitter included links to social media sites where the CBC will be active. continue to postFacebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are all included.
The CBC joins National Public Radio (NPR), which also objected to being labeled as “government-funded,” since the news outlet only derives about 2% of its funding from the federal government. NPR’s funding comes primarily from corporate sponsors and the fees that local radio stations pay for their content. NPR, which was first labeled as “state-affiliated media” before Twitter CEO Elon Musk created the “government-funded” label, has also paused all activity on Twitter.
Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter has grown increasingly hostile towards many mainstream media sources. Musk purchased the social-media platform in October of 2022. Musk expressed his skepticism when news outlets protested publicly on Twitter that western public broadcasters have their own editorial freedom.
The BBC was also slapped with a “government-funded” label recently, despite the fact that the news outlet is actually funded through a fee on the sale of TV sets, called the “license fee.” The BBC even collects the fee directly, meaning the government isn’t actually involved.
It’s unclear how major news outlets abandoning Twitter will impact the company’s bottom line. The majority of media analysts believe that Twitter requires news outlets more than outlets do. For starters, Twitter doesn’t drive much web traffic, even though it’s a place where many journalists spend their day to get caught up on the latest news from around the world.
Twitter responded to questions on Monday afternoon with a poop emoji—an automated email response set up by Musk to respond to all reporters. I’ll update this article if I ever get a real response.