Elon Musk Threatens to Transfer NPR’s Twitter Account to Another User, Fueling Tensions

(AP Photo/John Raoux; BNN Edit)
AP Photo/John Raoux; BNN Edit

Elon Musk has warned that he may transfer NPR’s Twitter account to another user, escalating the ongoing conflict between the Twitter and Tesla CEO and media organizations since he acquired the social media platform in October.

NPR reports that Elon Musk has threatened to escalate his ongoing dispute with multiple media organizations since he acquired Twitter in October by switching NPR’s Twitter account handle to another organization.

Elon Musk satanic costume

Elon Musk’s Halloween costume (Taylor Hill /Getty)

Musk suggested he might reassign the account name “@NPR” to another business or individual in a series of emails he sent to a reporter in which he questioned whether NPR would resume posting on Twitter.

In an unprompted email, Musk wrote: “So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?” The Tesla CEO did not clarify whether he planned to change the platform’s definition of inactivity or what prompted his new questions about NPR’s lack of participation on Twitter.

“Our policy is to recycle handles that are definitively dormant,” Musk added. “Same policy applies to all accounts. No special treatment for NPR.”

According to social media experts, giving established accounts to third parties carries a significant risk of impersonation and could harm a company’s reputation. “If this is a sign of things to come on Twitter, we might soon see even more of a rapid retreat by media organizations and other brands that don’t think it’s worth the risk,” said Emily Bell, a professor at Columbia Journalism School who studies social media. “It’s really an extraordinary threat to make.”

After Musk gave NPR’s account a label that implied it was controlled by the government last month, the news organization effectively stopped using Twitter. Following similar labeling, PBS, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and multiple other public media organizations stopped tweeting. Musk has since taken down the labels, but the affected outlets have not started tweeting again publicly.


The threat of retaliation is the most recent development in a conflict that has lasted for months between Musk and multple media outlets, which Breitbart News has covered in detail.

It is still unknown if Musk will carry out his threat to transfer NPR’s main Twitter account, which has close to 9 million followers, to another organization. A former Twitter executive expressed concern over the possibility, saying that companies using the platform might have to give in to Musk’s demands in order to prevent impersonation.

NPR CEO John Lansing previously said that he had lost faith in “decision-making at Twitter” and needed more time to decide whether he could trust Twitter once more. An NPR spokeswoman declined to address the issue further.

When asked who might potentially take over NPR’s Twitter account, Musk, known for his sarcastic and troll-like remarks, suggested a fictitious radio station with a pumpkin theme called “National Pumpkin Radio.”

Read more at NPR here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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