Elon Musk has warned National Public Radio that inactive Twitter handles can go up for grabs — and he is willing to give theirs away if they aren’t using it.
NPR left Twitter after being slapped with a “government-funded” label.
Now, Musk has warned the company that they may risk losing the rights to “@NPR,” which has nearly 9 million followers on the platform.
According to NPR, Musk said in an email to their tech reporter Bobby Allyn, “So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?”
Allyn noted that “under Twitter’s terms of service, an account’s inactivity is based on logging in, not tweeting. Those rules state that an account must be logged into at least every 30 days, and that ‘prolonged inactivity’ can result in it being permanently removed.”
“Musk did not answer when asked whether he planned to change the platform’s definition of inactivity and he declined to say what prompted his new questions about NPR’s lack of participation on Twitter,” Allyn wrote.
Musk asserted that NPR will not receive any special treatment and that Twitter will recycle any ” definitely dormant accounts.”
“Our policy is to recycle handles that are definitively dormant,” Musk said. “Same policy applies to all accounts. No special treatment for NPR.”
When asked who would take over the account, Musk responded, “National Pumpkin Radio,” with fire and laughing emojis.
“NPR isn’t tagged as government-funded anymore, so what’s the beef?” Musk asked.
After NPR’s story went live, Allyn says Musk emailed him a blank message with the subject, “You suck.”
Before Musk took over the platform, outlets like PBS, BBC, and NPR were exempt from Twitter’s guidelines on labeling state-affiliated accounts, unlike those from Russia or China.
NPR Responds to Twitter Labeling the Outlet as ‘U.S. State-Affiliated Media’ — Says They Were Sent a Poop Emoji By the Platform
NPR claimed that the label undermined its credibility.
“We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence,” NPR said in a statement to The Hill. “We are turning away from Twitter but not from our audiences and communities.”
After NPR announced that they were leaving, Musk tweeted, “Defund NPR.”
Other organizations, including PBS and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, have since joined NPR and stopped tweeting.
Twitter has since removed the labels, but the outlets have not returned.