Twitter Drops ‘State-Affiliated’ Label From Government-Tied Media Accounts

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Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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Twitter is no longer labeling state-backed media accounts as such, including those funded by adversarial governments like China, Russia and Iran.

Government-influenced outlets like China’s People’s Daily, Russia’s RT and Iran’s Press TV are no longer labeled as “state-affiliated” as of late Thursday. The change apparently took place around the same time Twitter scrapped legacy verified blue checkmarks, which saw scores of journalists lose their verified status unless they subscribe to the paid Twitter Blue service.

The change also applies to Western media outlets that receive government funding, such as NPR, Britain’s BBC and Canada’s CBC. Some of those outlets, most notably NPR, PBS and Radio New Zealand loudly protested receiving the “state-affiliated” label after Elon Musk took over Twitter, claiming that their respective governments have no editorial control over their content. Those outlets said they would quit using the platform entirely if the labels were not removed.

Twitter did not formally announce the change when it was made Thursday, so it is unclear if the change was intentional or one of several technical glitches that have affected the platform since Musk took over late last year. (RELATED: Elon Musk Confirms He’s ‘Paying For A Few’ Twitter Accounts After Report About Covering LeBron James’ Fees)

A number of largely-followed accounts that are widely considered to be propaganda outlets for the Chinese Communist Party, including the Global Times, People’s Daily, Xinhua News, Chen Weihua and Li Jing Jing are no longer labeled as state media.