Sveriges Radio on Tuesday announced its departure from Twitter, the first major European public broadcaster to join three North American broadcasters who pulled out of the social media platform last week.
Swedish Radio said its decision was made because Twitter had lost its relevance to Swedish audiences, not blaming a new company policy of labeling public broadcasters as government-funded.
By far Sweden’s largest radio station, with 7.4 million weekly listeners in 2021, Sveriges Radio has been on Twitter since 2009. The company said Swedes’ interest in Twitter has declined, citing a report that showed that only 7% of the country’s population used Twitter daily. , compared to 53% for Facebook and 48% for Instagram.
US broadcasters NPR and PBS and Canada’s CBC quit Twitter last week after the social media company added new labels to their accounts designating them as “government funded media”.
So far, this change seems to have applied in North America, but not in Western Europe, where Swedish Radio, Britain’s BBC and others are described as “state-funded”.
Christian Gillinger, the radio’s social media manager, said the station had no problem with its designation: “Based on the current definition, it’s an accurate description of how Sveriges Radio is funded.”
Major Western broadcasters say there is a clear difference between those that receive public funding but are editorially independent and those that are run by governments.
Gillinger said most Sveriges accounts will be deleted and others will be labeled as inactive. Individual station reporters are still free to use Twitter as they see fit. He, however, said it was concerning that the media platform had downsized and that this could negatively impact Twitter’s ability to deal with rogue accounts, misinformation and hate speech.
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