Elon Musk, escalating his battle with media companies, suggested he may strip NPR of its Twitter handle because it had stopped tweeting.
The billionaire said in a series of emails Tuesday he may transfer the @npr handle — which has remained dormant for weeks — to “another company,” NPR reported. Twitter, which has fired its communications team, did not specifically respond to an emailed request for comment.
NPR quit Twitter last month after Musk stirred controversy by labeling its account “state-affiliated media,” along with those for the BBC, PBS and other publicly funded organizations. NPR Chief Executive Officer John Lansing said he lost faith with decision-making at Twitter following abrupt and seemingly arbitrary policy changes at the company. Musk later withdrew the label, but also took it off government-backed outlets including China’s Xinhua News Agency and Russia’s RT.
“So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?” the organization cited Musk as saying in an email.
Musk’s policy changes since taking over Twitter, from firing half its staff to demanding users pay for once-coveted verified check-marks, have disconcerted observers and users. Reassigning Twitter handles risks misleading users at a time critics have highlighted the growing potential for misinformation on the platform.
Musk’s argument, according to NPR, was that it’s consistent with Twitter policy to reassign dormant accounts. Asked who might take over its handle, the Twitter owner responded with “National Pumpkin Radio” and a couple of emojis, NPR reported.