Twitter Inc. suspended the accounts of several prominent journalists alleging they were endangering the social network’s billionaire owner Elon Musk’s family…
This is according to reports in the media. News24 reported that on late Thursday, reporters from publications including the Washington Post, the New York Times Mashable and CNN were listed as blocked and their tweets were no longer visible.
The @ElonJet account, which had amassed more than 500,000 followers, was permanently suspended Wednesday after Twitter introduced a set of new policies banning accounts that track people’s live locations. Musk also blocked any account linking to such information.
Previously, there were no location sharing-related restrictions on Twitter.
CNN reports that Twitter earlier cut off the feed of competing social network Mastodon, which had posted a link on its Twitter page to an account on its own service that uses publicly available flight data to track Musk’s private jet.
Musk argued that pointing or linking to any source that might reveal his jet’s whereabouts as tantamount to posting his real-time location.
On Wednesday, Twitter had suspended multiple profiles that tracked private jet locations, including his.News24 reports that Musk said the suspended profiles, which included sports and political commentator Keith Olbermann, were of people who had posted his real-time location, describing the information as “basically assassination coordinates”.
“I was given no warning. I have no email or communication from the company about the reason for suspension,” New York Times reporter Ryan Mac tweeted from a new account. He posted a screen grab from the app saying he’s been permanently suspended. “I report on Twitter, Elon Musk and his companies. And I will continue to do so.”
CNN, whose reporter was swept up in the rash of suspensions, responded by saying “the impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising. Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses the platform. We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response”.
The CNN report quotes a New York Times spokesperson calling the mass bans “questionable and unfortunate,” adding: “Neither The Times nor Ryan have received any explanation about why this occurred. We hope that all of the journalists’ accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for this action.”
“Elon says he is a free speech champion and he is banning journalists for exercising free speech,” Harwell told CNN on Thursday. “I think that calls into question his commitment.” Rupar, too, said he had heard “nothing” from Twitter about the suspension.
”You doxx, you get suspended, end of story,”
Musk tweeted that “doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else”. He pinned a tweet to his profile explaining his reasoning and that he believed the offending Twitter profiles had threatened his family.
The Guardian reports that after an initial poll supported an immediate reversal of the bans on Thursday, Musk said there were too many options, and ran another poll for 24 hours with just two options: to keep the ban in place for seven days, or lift the ban immediately. After close to 3.7m votes, users voted to lift the ban 58.7% to 41.3%.
In a tweet shortly after, Musk said he would lift the bans, and several of those users returned to the platform.The standard ban period for disclosing personal location information — also known as doxxing — on the service is seven days, Musk said.
“You doxx, you get suspended, end of story, that’s it,” Musk said in a journalist-hosted Twitter Spaces session shortly after his first poll.