Use it or lose it! Elon Musk reportedly tells NPR its Twitter handle may be re-assigned if it’s inactive

‘Chief Twit’ Elon Musk has made it clear that he will run the company he paid $44 billion for as he sees fit and one notable example of this was seen in April when Twitter designated NPR, a government-funded broadcaster, as “U.S. state-affiliated media.”

(According to Influence Watch, NPR “receives funding for less than 1% of its budget directly from the federal government, but receives almost 10% of its budget from federal, state, and local governments indirectly.”)

NPR essentially threw a hissy fit and announced that it would suspend the use of its Twitter account “because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility,” and while Musk soon relented and remove the tag the national nonprofit media outlet has not returned to the social media platform and the billionaire owner appears to be calling their bluff.

On Tuesday, NPR reporter Bobby Allyn said that Musk emailed him and told him the outlet’s Twitter handle could be reassigned if NPR doesn’t resume tweeting.

“In a series of emails sent to this reporter, Musk said he would transfer the network’s main account on Twitter, under the @NPR handle, to another organization or person. The idea shocked even longtime observers of Musk’s spur-of-the-moment and erratic leadership style,” he wrote.

“So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?” Musk wrote, according to Allyn.

Allyn acknowledged that NPR “effectively quit Twitter” after Musk applied the label — NPR was not alone, the BBC and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation were tagged, along with accounts associated with the Russian government and the Chinese Communist Party. All tags have since been removed.

He also threw Twitter’s terms of service in Musk’s face.

“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,” the reporter noted. “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.”

In another email, Musk purportedly said, “Our policy is to recycle handles that are definitively dormant. Same policy applies to all accounts. No special treatment for NPR.”

And, as social media users noted, there are other companies that could use the Twitter handle:


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Tom Tillison


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