Less than a month after the American news outlet NPR left Twitter after being labelled ‘government-funded,’ Twitter CEO Elon Musk has reportedly emailed its journalist, threatening to give away the NPR handle unless the outlet starts tweeting again.
“So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?” Mr. Musk reportedly asked in the email sent to an NPR journalist.
He also claimed “definitely dormant” handles were recycled and that NPR would not be getting any special treatment, according to the outlet.
Mr. Musk had urged news organisations to pay for verification on Twitter to avoid impersonation. However, media companies such as The New York Times and Washington Post do not intend to pay for verification. Some news organisations’ handles were also labelled as ‘state-affiliated’ or ‘government-funded,’ which several companies such as the BBC and NPR disagreed with.
NPR has more than eight million Twitter followers. Its ‘government-funded’ label has since been removed.
However, Twitter accounts with many followers have gold tick verification to signify they are major organisations, or were automatically given a blue tick - even if they did not pay for it.
In the meantime, Business Insider reported that Twitter’s workforce had dipped to around 1,000 employees. In an interview with a BBC journalist in mid-April, Mr. Musk said that Twitter had around 1,500 employees.