TORONTO – The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation suspended Twitter on Monday. The Elon Musk-owned social media platform has accused the public broadcasting corporation of undermining its credibility after it stamped CBC’s logo.
Twitter labeled CBC/Radio-Canada “government-funded media” — the same label that prompted National Public Radio in the U.S. to suspend Twitter last Wednesday.
“Twitter can be a powerful tool for our journalists to communicate with Canadians, but it undermines the integrity and professionalism of the work they do to ensure our freedom is expressed in this way,” said CBC spokesperson Leon Marr on Monday afternoon.
“As a result, we will cease activity on our corporate Twitter account and all accounts associated with CBC and Radio-Canada news,” the statement said.
CBC sent a letter to Twitter asking the company to reconsider its designation. Musk later tweeted about it and changed it to “69 percent government funded media.”
Marr argued that the CBC does not meet those criteria, because it is officially supported by a resolution of parliament elected by all members of parliament, and its editorial freedom is protected by law in the Broadcasting Act.
The CBC Board of Directors determines how the funding received will be used. In 2021-22, CBC received more than 1.2 billion Canadian dollars (US$900 million) in government funding.
Pierre Poilèvre of Canada’s opposition Conservative Party urged the CBC to settle on Twitter. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Poliève, calling it “an attack on a fundamental Canadian institution”.
Twitter initially labeled NPR’s flagship as “government-affiliated media,” a term also used to describe media outlets controlled or heavily influenced by authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China. Twitter later changed its label to “government-funded media,” but NPR — which relies on the government for a small amount of its funding — is still misleading.
Twitter earlier responded to a request for comment on why the tag was implemented and whether it would be removed or changed in an email with a self-generated emoji.
Twitter says more users come to it to keep up-to-date than any of its competitors. That made it a place for news outlets to share their stories and strengthened Twitter’s efforts to combat the spread of misinformation. But Musk has long expressed disdain for professional journalists and said he wants to elevate the views and knowledge of the “average citizen.”
Late last year, Musk abruptly suspended the accounts of individual journalists who wrote about Twitter, saying they were trying to expose some of its positions.
Twitter denied the report in early April after it removed the verification symbol from the New York Times’ main account, took the newspaper out separately and said it would not pay Twitter to verify the institution’s accounts.
Twitter also used to mark journalists and other popular accounts with a blue symbol to verify their identity and distinguish them from imposters. But Musk downplayed the signs as an undeserved status symbol and plans to take them away from anyone who doesn’t buy a premium subscription.