Twitter suspends journalists who have been covering Elon Musk and the company

Twitter on Thursday night suddenly suspended several high-profile journalists who cover the platform and Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest people, who acquired the company a few months ago.

Hours after the suspensions set in, Musk confronted one of the reporters he had suspended in an audio chat on Twitter Space in front of an audience of more than 30,000 listeners. The suspended journalist, along with several others, found a backdoor way to access the platform through the website’s audio feature.

“You doxx, you are suspended. End of the story. That’s it,” Musk said, explaining his latest policy to the group, before leaving minutes after joining the chat.

Musk was referring to Twitter’s latest rule change regarding accounts that follow private jetsincluding one belonging to Musk himself, which was set up on Wednesday.

Testimonials from Ryan Mac of the New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Drew Harwell of the Washington Post, Matt Binder of Mashable, Micah Lee of The Intercept, Steve Herman of Voice of America and freelancers Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann and Tony Webster had all been suspended since Thursday evening.

Mastodon’s Twitter account, a platform touted as an alternative to Twitter, was also suspended early Thursday evening. Twitter accounts run by NBC News reporters were unable to tweet links to Mastodon’s pages. Mastodon was trending on Twitter, however.

Musk said the suspensions stemmed from the platform’s new rules banning private jet trackers, responding to a tweet from Mike Solana, vice president of venture capital firm Founders Fund, who noted that suspended accounts had posted links to jet trackers on other websites.

‘Criticizing me all day is totally okay, but doxxing my position in real time and putting my family at risk is not,’ he said in another tweet.

Musk tweeted that the banned accounts on Thursday posted “my exact real-time location, essentially the coordinates of the assassination, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter’s terms of service.” NBC News was unable to verify this claim.

Musk added later that the suspensions would last seven days.

In early November, shortly after taking over Twitter, Musk tweeted that he would not ban the account that followed his roll.

The latest news on Elon Musk and Twitter

Rupar written on Substack that his account was permanently suspended but that he had no other information.

“I haven’t heard anything from Twitter at all,” he wrote.

He noted that he tweeted a link to a Facebook page on Wednesday that tracked Musk’s jet.

Binder, a tech reporter for Mashable, said he was suspended after tweeting a screenshot of another suspended reporter, CNN’s O’Sullivan, of a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department.

“I’ve been here since 2008. I’ve never had so much slap on the wrist, because I always play by the rules,” Binder said. “It’s not hard to do when you know the rules.”

Binder said his account notified him that he was permanently suspended.

“That’s exactly what he criticized on Twitter,” Binder said of Musk.

Binder appeared to find a loophole in Twitter’s suspension, joining an audio chat about Twitter’s Spaces feature with other reporters on Thursday evening. Harwell also later joined.

“I’m breaking the law in a way that’s never been broken before,” Binder joked.

Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old student in Florida who created the Twitter account that tracked Musk’s jet, was also able to join in the discussion despite his account being suspended.

Musk then joined the discussion, but briefly – taking out his talking points and then leaving abruptly. He had previously set up a poll with a variety of options, asking whether or not he should reinstate journalists’ accounts. When a plurality of respondents voted to restore the accounts immediately, he deleted the poll and started a new one with fewer options.

O’Sullivan said Thursday that all of the reporters who were suspended with him were people who covered Musk.

“As we saw last night with the jet tracker, Musk seems to just delete accounts he doesn’t like,” O’Sullivan told CNN.

A network spokesperson said the suspensions were “impulsive and unwarranted” – but not surprising.

“Twitter’s growing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern to anyone who uses Twitter,” the network said in a statement. “We have requested an explanation from Twitter, and we will reassess our relationship based on that response.”

Sally Buzbee, editor of the Washington Post, said Harwell’s suspension “directly undermines Elon Musk’s assertion that he intends to make Twitter a platform dedicated to free speech.” .

Harwell was “banned from Twitter without warning, process or explanation, following the publication of his accurate reporting on Musk” and should be reinstated immediately, Buzbee said in a statement late Thursday.

A New York Times spokesperson, who called the suspensions questionable and unfortunate, said no explanation was provided to Mac or the newspaper for the ban.

Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., tweeted whom she met Thursday with representatives of Twitter, who said the company would take no action against journalists who criticize the platform.

“Less than 12 hours later, several tech journalists have been suspended. What’s the matter, @Elon Musk?” added Trahan.

Musk reneged on his promise to lead Twitter as a free speech absolutist, reinstating accounts associated with the QAnon movement and other far-right groups while banning others.

Internally, he deleted the reviews of its company policies.

The suspensions add to what has been a tumultuous few days for Twitter after it first suspended the account that followed Musk’s jet.

Musk appeared to threaten legal action against Sweeney, the creator of the @ElonJet account, after claiming a “stalker” ran into a car carrying his child in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Musk has provided no evidence that Sweeney or his account were involved. He did not provide a time or place in the vast metropolitan area where he claimed the incident took place.

Sweeney told NBC News on Wednesday that he hadn’t received any legal action notices and that the last time his bot tweeted anything was Monday, “which isn’t last night, so I don’t understand how it’s related.”

The Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday that no police report had been filed.

“The LAPD Threat Management Unit is aware of the situation and Elon Musk’s tweet and is in contact with his representatives and security team. No crime report has yet been filed,” Officer Lizeth Lomeli, a police information officer, said in a statement late Thursday.

Other law enforcement departments also cover parts of the Los Angeles metro area.

CORRECTION (Friday, December 16, 12:30 a.m.): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of an LAPD public information officer. She is Lizeth Lomeli, not Loeni.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top