Having pronounced that preserving freedom of speech was his mission in acquiring Twitter, Elon Musk has now suspended or expelled several journalists who cover him and his businesses, as well as a competitive platform, from Twitter.
The accounts of Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, Donie O'Sullivan of CNN, Matt Binder of Mashable, Micah Lee of The Intercept, Steve Herman of Voice of America and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann and Tony Webster were suspended on Thursday evening.
The Twitter account of Mastodon, a platform with a growing user base driven by defectors from Twitter, was also suspended.
Musk, who initially said he would not suspend or ban Twitter users who engage in tracking private jets, including his own (see November 6 tweet above), said the suspensions were implemented because the account owners broke Twitter’s new rules against such tracking by supposedly having posted links to jet trackers on other websites.
Musk, who now defines jet tracking as “doxxing” that endangers jet owners and their families by revealing their locations, tweeted that the rules against doxxing apply to journalists as much as to other users.
“Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not," he added.
Most of the suspensions will apparently last for seven days — or at least that is what Musk tweeted.
However, both Rupar and Binder have posted that their Twitter accounts have been permanently suspended, without having been given further information.
“This is the very stuff that he’s criticized the previous Twitter owners of doing," Binder observed.
After the suspensions, Musk posted a poll asking whether he should reinstate the journalists’ accounts — only to delete it and post an amended poll after the original poll’s results showed a majority supporting reinstatement.
"The gall of @elonmusk to ban respectable journalists doing important work from his platform while parading as some sort of champion of free speech is, quite frankly, detestable,” Rep. Yvette Clark (D-NY) fumed in a tweet. “I’d ask if he feels any shame, but meaningful self-reflection may simply be beyond his capacity."
Doxxing is not "doing important work" and plenty of people have died due to the practice.
Interesting that MediaPost has completely ignored all of the documents that have been released showing that Twitter knowingly and purposely removed and shadowbanned people who did not violate their own rules under Dorsey. Just a bunch of internal politically biased individuals who had the power to silence people and facts that did not fit their narrative.
Now we have more transparency and somehow that is a problem?
Twitter's users will ultimately decide Twitter's fate - and Twitter has seen an increase in new users over the past two months, so apparently Musk's transparency and involving users in the conversation is working.
The article rather startlingly fails to note the crucial detail that this action follows a terrifying attack on a car carrying Musk's son. On the other hand, it was a chuckle that it carried a quote implying Keith Olbermann is a "respectable journalist".