One of Canada’s most significant media organisations has announced it is indefinitely suspending posting on social media platform Twitter, in a move against changes made by the platforms' owner Elon Musk.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has announced it will stop posting on the platform in a tweet written on Monday (17 April). “Our journalism is impartial and independent. To suggest otherwise is untrue. That is why we are pausing our activities on @Twitter,” CBC wrote in the statement.
CBC is the latest and perhaps most significant media organisation to have left the platform in recent weeks, following on from American-based entities such as National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
Why are some organisations leaving Twitter?
NPR, which lists itself as a non-profit media organisation, left the platform at the beginning of April after receiving a ‘state-affiliated media organisation’ badge, following changes made to the verification system. A spokesperson for NPR said: “We have paused tweeting from that account until we hear back from Twitter on this. We’ve continued tweeting from our other accounts that aren’t mislabelled.”
They also updated their bio to read: “NPR is an independent news organization committed to informing the public about the world around us. You can find us every other place you read the news.”
The “government-funded media” label links to a page on Twitter’s help centre which says “state-affiliated media” are outlets where the government “exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution”.
Many news organisations have expressed their discomfort with new verification rules, which mean that individual users can now receive the same blue ticks that they and their reporters were previously awarded by Twitter under the previous ownership. These ticks were handed out to avoid duplicate accounts, or if Twitter believed the account to be of interest to the public. However, all users can now purchase a blue tick for $8 a month.
In addition to this, some organisations have had their blue ticks removed, to be replaced by gold ‘legacy’ checkmarks. This change has been introduced to denote that these accounts remain affiliated with the company they represent and are the only accounts for those companies, but that they were awarded their verification under the previous regime.
Twitter did offer the blue tick verification service to organisations, but the previously free service now requires a fee.
Musk revealed in an interview with the BBC on 12 April that he purchased the platform to rescue it, following reports that it was losing $4 million a day. Musk claimed that Twitter is "roughly breaking even" now that "most" of its advertisers have returned to the site.
In the interview Musk announced that Twitter would change the BBC’s "government-funded media" tag after the broadcaster raised concerns about it - the same tag that was applied to NPR, PBS and CBC. Musk expressed his "utmost respect" for the BBC, adding: “We want (the tag) as truthful and accurate as possible – we’re adjusting the label to (the BBC being) publicly funded – we’ll try to be accurate.” Musk has previously described the BBC as “among the least biased” news organisations.
It is unlikely the BBC will leave the platform following the awarding of this badge, but it is interesting to note that organisations are choosing to move away from the platform - whether it will start a movement remains to be seen.
Who else has left Twitter?
As well as publishers and organisations, many high profile celebrities have chosen to log off the platform for good in the wake of Elon Musk's takeover.
The pop superstar Sir Elton John announced in December that he would be quitting Twitter, writing: "All my life I’ve tried to use music to bring people together. Yet it saddens me to see how misinformation is now being used to divide our world. I’ve decided to no longer use Twitter, given their recent change in policy which will allow misinformation to flourish unchecked."
His account, followed by over a million fans, has not been deleted but he has not updated it since then.
The actor Jim Carrey also left Twitter following Musk's takeover. In a tweet to his 19 million followers, he said: "I’m leaving Twitter, but 1st here’s a cartoon I made with my friend Jimmy Hayward. It’s based on my painting of a crazy old Lighthouse Keeper, standing naked in a storm, summoning the angels and shining his lamp to guide us through a treacherous night. I love you all so much!”
The Oscar-winning star Whoopi Goldberg quit the platform back in November 2022: "I’m getting off today. I just feel like it’s so messy, and I’m tired of now having had certain kinds of attitudes blocked, and now they’re back on. I’m going to get out, and if it settles down and I feel more comfortable, maybe I’ll come back.”
Other famous names to have left Twitter include Nine Inch Nails musician Trent Reznor, the model Gigi Hadid, creator of The Wire David Simon, the former White Stripes star Jack White, the actress and presenter Jameela Jamil, Bill & Ted actor Alex Winter, comedian and actor Stephen Fry, US singer-songwriter Toni Braxton, and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes.