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BBC takes issue with ‘government-funded’ label on Twitter

Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC, as it appeared in 2014.
Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC, as it appeared in 2014. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has added to a growing list of media organizations taking issue with a label affixed to their main public Twitter profile.

During the weekend, officials at the BBC said they objected to a “government-funded media” label that appeared on their Twitter account, purportedly at the behest of Twitter’s owner Elon Musk.

The BBC is funded through a licensed levied on British households that watch live television, including through online platforms. While the license and the organization are regulated by the government, the BBC has editorial independence free from government influence.

“The BBC is, and always has been, independent,” a spokesperson for the organization said on Monday. “We are funded by the British public through the licence fee.”

It is the second time in less than a month that a media outlet has taken issue with a label affixed to their Twitter account. Last week, public broadcaster NPR called out Twitter and Musk after a “state-affiliated” label was wrongly applied to their main profile.

Late last week, Musk said Twitter would reconsider the label applied to the NPR account, and the decision was ultimately made to amend the tag to read “government-funded” — which is misleading, since NPR only receives around 1 percent of its funding through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other government funding sources.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).