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Musk to NPR: Tweet or Lose Your Handle - A Twitter Showdown

Elon Musk, the enigmatic CEO of Tesla and Twitter, has recently turned his attention to the media, specifically National Public Radio (NPR). In a surprising turn of events, Musk is now threatening to reassign NPR's Twitter account to another company if they don't start tweeting again, causing a stir in the world of social media.

The situation began with an unprompted email Musk sent to NPR reporter Bobby Allyn, asking if NPR intended to start posting on Twitter or if their handle should be given to another company. This move by Musk raised eyebrows, as it contradicted Twitter's own inactive account policy, which states that inactivity is based on logging in, not posting tweets.

NPR stopped tweeting three weeks ago in response to Musk, who is also Twitter's owner and CEO, labeling their account as "state-affiliated media." This designation, typically reserved for propaganda outlets in countries without substantial free press protections, was considered inappropriate for the independent news organization. Musk later changed the label to "government-funded media," despite NPR receiving less than 1% of its annual funding directly from the US government.

The showdown escalated when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) also halted Twitter activity after Musk labeled their account "69% Government-funded Media," a figure that is inaccurate. In response to the backlash, Musk removed all labels from media outlets, even those from state-controlled news organizations in China and Russia.

With two weeks since the labels' removal, Musk seems to be growing impatient with NPR's continued Twitter silence. In an email to Allyn, Musk wrote, "Our policy is to recycle handles that are definitively dormant. Same policy applies to all accounts. No special treatment for NPR." Allyn reported that Musk sarcastically responded when asked who would take over NPR's Twitter account.

This high-stakes face-off between Musk and NPR has caught the attention of media professionals and Twitter users alike. With concerns over impersonation and potential damage to a company's reputation, the situation has many questioning the future of media organizations and other brands on Twitter. As Columbia Journalism School Professor Emily Bell told NPR, "It's really an extraordinary threat to make."

As the world awaits NPR's next move, one thing is certain: Elon Musk's unpredictable actions continue to keep us all on our toes.