Elon Musk has threatened to switch NPR’s Twitter account to a different user, increasing the Twitter and Tesla CEO’s ongoing feud with media groups since acquiring the social networking platform in October.
According to NPR, Elon Musk has made threats to intensify his ongoing fight with various media companies since acquiring Twitter in October by changing the handle of NPR’s Twitter account to a different organization.
Musk hinted in a series of emails to a reporter that he would reassign the account name “@NPR” to some other company or individual, questioning if NPR was going to resume posting on Twitter.
“So, is NPR planning to begin posting on Twitter once again, or must we transfer @NPR to a different company?” Musk said in an unprompted email. The Tesla CEO didn’t clarify if he intended to change the platform’s meaning of inactivity or what sparked his fresh Twitter inquiries regarding NPR’s lack of involvement.
“Our policy is to give away handles that are clearly dormant,” Musk explained. “All accounts are subject to the same policy. There will be no special treatment for NPR.”
Giving existing accounts to third parties, according to social media experts, increases the possibility of impersonation and can hurt the reputation of a business. “If this is indeed a sign of what’s yet to come on Twitter, we could soon witness a greater degree of a rapid withdrawal by media groups and other companies that do not believe it’s worth the risk,” noted Emily Bell, a professor of social media at Columbia Journalism School. “This is a truly extraordinary threat.”
After Musk labeled NPR’s account as “government-controlled” last month, the media group effectively quit using Twitter. PBS, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and a number of other public media companies have stopped tweeting as a result of similar categorization. Musk has already removed the labels, but the impacted outlets haven’t returned to public tweeting.
The threat of vengeance is the most recent step in a months-long feud between Musk and multiple media sources, which Breitbart News has extensively chronicled.
It is unclear whether Musk will follow through on his threat to move NPR’s primary Twitter account, which has over 9 million followers, to a different organization. A former Twitter executive raised concern about the possibility, stating that corporations that use the network may be forced to give in to Musk’s demands if they want to prevent impersonation.
NPR CEO John Lansing earlier stated that he had lost trust in “decision-making at Twitter” and that he required more time to assess if he could trust Twitter anymore. An NPR spokesperson declined to comment further on the matter.
When asked who would take over NPR’s Twitter account, Musk offered a fake radio program with a pumpkin-related theme named “National Pumpkin Radio.” Musk is notorious for his snarky and troll-like remarks.