Elon Musk has once again taken aim at NPR in his ongoing feud with the media organization, threatening to reassign its Twitter account to someone else if the company does not resume posting on the social media platform.
NPR stopped posting on Twitter after Musk falsely labeled the news outlet as “state-affiliated media.” Despite NPR's clarification that it is editorially independent, Musk continued to insist that they are government-funded.
In his recent email to NPR reporter Bobby Allyn, Musk asked whether the media organization would start posting on Twitter again, or if he should reassign their Twitter handle to another company. This threat seems to be a petty move in retaliation for NPR's refusal to continue using the platform after being falsely labeled.
Allyn posted about the emails on Twitter and later updated the story to note that Musk had sent an email that consisted of just two words:
You can see Allyn's tweets below.
You can see Allyn's updated note below.
Allyn actually later framed the email in a deliciously petty form of trolling.
People praised Allyn's response to Musk's childish behavior.
While Twitter's terms of service state that inactive accounts can be deleted by the company at any time, it is unlikely that other companies would receive the same treatment as NPR.
It is also highly concerning that Musk's threat could result in an impersonation campaign that could spread mass disinformation under a trusted name.
It appears that Musk is trying to backtrack on his previous statements by acting like he doesn't know why NPR is upset with him, asking "NPR isn’t tagged as government-funded anymore, so what’s the beef?" However, his actions and words indicate otherwise.
The feud with NPR is just one of many instances where Musk has used his platform to attack and bully individuals and organizations. In the past, he has faced backlash for making insensitive comments and engaging in transphobia and antisemitic remarks.
Musk officially acquired Twitter in October and has repeatedly insisted Twitter needs to go private if it wants to become a platform for free speech, though he has already come under fire for silencing his critics and spreading misinformation.
Moreover, a slew of chaotic policy decisions have further alienated the platform's users, and Musk has walked back previous moves banning journalists while caving in to calls for him to appoint a new chief executive.
Not cute, Elon. Not cute.