Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Melts Down After Twitter Labels It 'Government-Funded Media'

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Twitter CEO Elon Musk
April 18, 2023

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is pausing its Twitter account after the social media platform labeled the network's account "government-funded media."

Between 2021 and 2022, the public broadcasting network received the Canadian equivalent of more than 900 million U.S. dollars in government funding, according to the Associated Press. CBC spokesman Leon Mar in a Monday afternoon statement defended the corporation, saying that the board of directors decides how to spend the government funding and that the country's Broadcasting Act protects the network's editorial independence.

"Twitter can be a powerful tool for our journalists to communicate with Canadians, but it undermines the accuracy and professionalism of the work they do to allow our independence to be falsely described in this way," Mar said. "Consequently, we will be pausing our activity on our corporate Twitter account and all CBC and Radio-Canada news-related accounts."

The CBC is not the only media outlet upset over Twitter owner Elon Musk's new labels. The United States' National Public Radio quit using the social media platform last week after receiving a similar label on its accounts. Twitter defines "government-funded media" as "outlets where the government provides some or all of the outlet's funding and may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content."

The country's opposition Conservative Party has urged Twitter to add the label, with party leader Pierre Poilievre saying the CBC traffics in "propaganda" for left-wing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In response, Trudeau criticized the label and said the Conservatives were "choosing to constantly attack independent media organizations."

Musk on Monday night mocked the CBC's complaint by changing the corporation's label to "69 percent government-funded media," tweeting, "Canadian Broadcasting Corp said they're 'less than 70 percent government-funded,' so we corrected the label."