Newly minted Twitter CEO Elon Musk threatened to reassign National Public Radio’s official account — which uses the @NPR handle — to “another company” on Tuesday, weeks after the non-profit media organization announced it will no longer post content on Twitter.
In an unprompted email to an NPR reporter, Musk asked: “So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?”
Twitter’s terms of service say a social media account’s inactivity is based on the user logging in to the account, not tweeting from it.
“To keep your account active, be sure to log in at least every 30 days,” Twitter’s Help Center reads. “Accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity.”
In a series of email exchanges with the NPR reporter, Musk did not answer if 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.
“Our policy is to recycle handles that are definitively dormant,” Musk wrote in an email. “Same policy applies to all accounts. No special treatment for NPR.”
Musk’s unsolicited question comes after NPR announced in April it will no longer post content on its 52 official Twitter accounts, after Musk tagged the non-profit media organization as a “state-affiliated media” account on Twitter, a label typically used by the platform to identify foreign media outlets that represent the official views of their government, like Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua.
In their announcement, NPR said they refused to use the platform as it “undermine[d] our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.”
Shortly after, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) followed suit, becoming the second major news outlet to ditch the popular social media platform.
Musk has since removed the labels, but the outlets have not resumed public activity on Twitter.
When asked who would potentially take over NPR’s Twitter account, Musk — in his usual troll form — responded sarcastically.
“National Pumpkin Radio,” Musk wrote, adding a fire emoji and a laughing emoji to describe the content of the fictional gourd-themed broadcaster. “NPR isn’t tagged as government-funded anymore, so what’s the beef?”