- Elon Musk has threatened to reassign NPR’s Twitter handle, according to the broadcaster.
- NPR announced in mid-April that it would no longer tweet from its 52 official Twitter accounts.
- The move came after Twitter labeled NPR as “state-affiliated media.”
Elon Musk threatened to reassign NPR’s Twitter handle to another entity if it didn’t start tweeting again, the broadcaster reported.
NPR reported that Musk sent an out-of-the-blue email on Tuesday to reporter Bobby Allyn, which asked: “So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?”
In a further email, Musk reportedly wrote: “Our policy is to recycle handles that are definitively dormant. Same policy applies to all accounts. No special treatment for NPR.”
NPR announced in mid-April that it would no longer tweet from its 52 official Twitter accounts, citing Musk’s decision to label the outlet as “state-affiliated media,” a move that left it aligned with state-controlled media such as China’s Xinhua News Agency.
Twitter later changed the outlet’s label to “government-funded media” but NPR said the label was still “inaccurate and misleading” as the organization is private, nonprofit, and has editorial independence.
The feud escalated when Musk responded to NPR’s decision to leave the platform with a series of jokes and insults, including tweeting out: “Defund NPR.”
Twitter originally faced a deluge of impersonation and parody accounts when it first introduced a paid verification system that allowed users to buy blue ticks for $8. The flood of fake accounts forced the company to temporarily halt the rollout and later grant some news organizations and verified business accounts gold ticks.
Elon Musk originally said he planned to remove all “legacy” verification on Twitter. However, last month the billionaire appeared to make a dramatic U-turn by returning blue checkmarks to some users after previously removing them, sending the platform into chaos.
Twitter’s press service did not immediately reply to Insider’s email, sent out-of-hours, asking to confirm the details, other than an auto-reply that did not address the question.