Elon Musk offers journalists he banned from Twitter ability to return under certain condition


Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has offered several of the journalists he banned from the social media website earlier this week the chance to return to the platform if they delete the tweets he claimed to mistakenly share its “exact real-time” location.

Musk’s move came after he posted an unscientific poll on his personal Twitter account that concluded Friday night with 59% of participants voting in favor of restoring the accounts immediately.

Musk had banned on Thursday CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan Ryan Mac of the New York Times and Drew Harwell of the Washington Post. Progressive freelance journalist Aaron Rupar, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and Insider columnist Linette Lopez were also banned.

“People have spoken,” Musk wrote Friday night after his poll, pledging to restore accounts he had falsely accused of sharing his location “in exact real time.”

But while the accounts were made publicly available on Saturday, reporters were barred from posting until they removed tweets that Musk said violated Twitter rules.

In the past, Twitter has demanded the removal of violent tweets in order for users to regain access to their accounts, but the reporters in this case strongly dispute that their posts violated Twitter’s rules.

O’Sullivan and Harwell both told CNN on Saturday morning that they had not agreed to delete the tweets and had instead chosen an option to appeal the decision.

“It’s journalism,” Harwell wrote in his appeal, a copy of which was provided to CNN. Harwell added that his tweet did not include a “link to anyone’s private information.”

Rupar told CNN he ultimately decided to just delete the tweet and move on from the episode, though he described the whole thing as “a bit [sic] obviously absurd.

It was unclear what Mac had chosen to do.

The accounts of Olbermann and Lopez notably remained banned and had not even been made public by late Saturday morning.

Musk falsely claimed on Thursday that reporters violated Twitter’s new “doxxing” policy by sharing his “real-time exact” location, which amounts to what he described as “assassination coordinates.”

The journalists’ suspension was quickly condemned by news organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, the United Nations, Democratic members of Congress and others.

The move marked a significant attempt by Musk, a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, to wield his unilateral authority over the platform to censor the press.

A CNN spokesperson previously said Thursday that the network asked Twitter for an explanation of O’Sullivan’s suspension and would “reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”

Shortly before his suspension, O’Sullivan tweeted that Twitter had suspended the account of an emerging competitive social media service, Mastodon, which allowed the continued posting of @ElonJet, an account that posts the updated location. of Musk’s private jet.

Other journalists suspended on Thursday had also recently written about the aircraft tracking account, which Twitter permanently suspended the day before as it rolled out a new policy banning the sharing of live location data.

The decision to ban the jet tracking account marked a clear reversal of Musk’s vow to keep the account online as part of his “commitment to free speech”.

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