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18 Apr, 2023 16:16

Swedish broadcaster joins Twitter exodus

Sveriges Radio said CEO Elon Musk’s “publicly-funded” label was not the reason it quit the platform
Swedish broadcaster joins Twitter exodus

Public broadcaster Sveriges Radio has announced it is leaving Twitter, explaining in a blog post on Tuesday that its listeners no longer use the platform. 

The audience has simply chosen other places to be. And, therefore, Sveriges Radio now chooses to deactivate or delete the last remaining accounts,” the company’s head of social media, Christian Gillinger, wrote.

For a long time, Sveriges Radio has de-prioritized its presence on Twitter,” he explained, citing the Internet Foundation’s 2022 report ‘Swedes and the Internet’, which revealed only 7% of Swedes use Twitter daily, compared to 53% who use Facebook and 48% who use Instagram. 

Gillinger pointed out that the company had also left Twitch and Snapchat and even reduced engagement on the more-popular Facebook, explaining that limited time and resources mean the broadcaster is forced to “opt in and out all the time.”

Indeed, for the last six years, many of its channels’ accounts have been inactive, though some activity is visible across the newsrooms. Going forward, “most accounts” belonging to the company will be deleted, while some will be listed as inactive, and individual employees can remain on the platform if they choose. Sveriges joined Twitter in 2009.

While Gillinger did not blame Twitter’s recent push to label Western public broadcasters as state-backed media for his company’s decision, he acknowledged the “recent turbulence” at the social media behemoth, suggesting that the dramatic reductions in Twitter’s staff could empower bad actors.

We believe that in the long term it may affect the company’s ability to handle, for example, fake accounts, bots, and misinformation,” he said, explaining “these are factors that also weigh in when we now decide to be editorially inactive on the platform.”

Sweden’s largest radio company joins publicly-funded American news outlets PBS and National Public Radio, both of which announced their departure from Twitter in the past week, citing CEO Elon Musk’s decision to label their accounts as “government-funded media” or “state-backed media.” Canadian outlet CBC joined the exodus on Monday after receiving a similar label.

In Europe, however, affected accounts including the BBC are labeled as “publicly-funded,” rather than “government-funded,” and the designation did not seem to bother the Swedish broadcaster. “Based on the current definition, it’s a correct description of how Swedish Radio is financed,” Gillinger said.

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