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KUOW to cease activity on Twitter after NPR is falsely labeled as ‘state-affiliated media’

caption: KUOW studios
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KUOW studios
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A statement from KUOW President and General Manager Caryn G. Mathes

Following Twitter’s decision to falsely label NPR as “state-affiliated media,” a term the platform uses to identify propaganda outlets and government-controlled media, NPR leadership announced today that the organization is leaving the platform. They will no longer post new content to their 52 institutional Twitter feeds, making them the first major news organization to go inactive on the platform.

In an interview, NPR CEO John Lansing explained, "I would never have our content go anywhere that would risk our credibility.”

We believe Twitter’s false, misleading, and inconsistent application of labels undermines the platform’s credibility. We are worried that our continued engagement on this platform will erode public trust. So, we’re following NPR’s lead. As of today, KUOW has made the decision to indefinitely pause activity on Twitter.

KUOW’s mission is to create and serve a more informed public. Historically, Twitter has been an important tool for real-time information dissemination — a way to get trusted news out to our local community in real-time. However, the recent decision-making at Twitter has made it clear that an active presence on the platform no longer supports our mission.

In recent years, KUOW has also seen declining returns on Twitter. Twitter only accounted for 1% of our overall site traffic in 2022. We had already pulled back resources from Twitter to prioritize other channels with stronger audience engagement — the recent decisions from Twitter leadership simply made the business case for pulling back fairly straight-forward.

Our decision to go silent on Twitter in no way changes our north star: to be a trusted source of information that is free and accessible to everyone in our community. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our mission and the audiences we serve. We invite you to find us on other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube — as well as online, in your inbox, at community events, in your favorite podcast app, and always on-air at 94.9 FM Seattle.

Lastly, though Twitter CEO Elon Musk reacted to NPR’s decision by tweeting “Defund @NPR” (among other things), the reality is that KUOW and NPR receive very little government funding. Only 4% of KUOW’s revenue comes from government dollars via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Over 90% of our revenue comes from community members and local businesses who share our belief that an informed public makes our democracy stronger.

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