Concerned about fake news and hate speech, Sweden’s public radio closes Twitter accounts

Swedish public broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR) has decided to stop using Twitter as part of its social media strategy, citing concerns over “recent turbulence” at the company surrounding its ability to fight fake news and hate speech. 

It follows an announcement by the US National Public Radio that it would stop posting fresh content to its more than a dozen Twitter accounts, plus a similar move by Canada’s public service broadcaster CBC on Monday to also stop using it.   

Both broadcasters objected to being branded as “government-funded media” by Elon Musk’s social media platform, which CBC said was meant to undermine its editorial credibility. 

While SR in Sweden has not had its accounts slapped with any objectionable Twitter labels, the company says it had been winding down its presence on the platform for several years anyway.

“For a long time, Sveriges Radio has de-prioritised its presence on Twitter and has now made the decision to completely stop being active on the platform, at the same time that we are shutting down a number of accounts,” said SR’s head of social media Christian Gillinger.

Gillinger says the company needs to focus instead on its digital presence and that Twitter “has simply changed over the years and become less important for us.” 

The broadcaster says only an estimated 7% of Swedes are active on Twitter, and they’ve experienced a drop in interactions and less dialogue around their tweets in recent years. 

“We have of course noted the recent turbulence around the platform and for us it is, for example, worrying that Twitter has reduced its workforce dramatically,” Gillinger says

“We believe that in the long run it may affect the company’s capacity to handle, for example, fake accounts, bots and misinformation, but also hate and threats. Of course, these are factors that also weigh in when we now decide to be editorially inactive on the platform.”

SR has made it clear they’re not restricting their staff from using Twitter accounts, and the decision to stop using the micro-messaging platform is only for editorial output. 

The broadcaster has also recently stopped using Snapchat, scaled back their channels’ Facebook output, and ended a presence on Twitch.

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