Dec 15 (Reuters) – Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of several prominent journalists who wrote recently about its owner, Elon Musk, and the billionaire tweeting that the law prohibits the publication of personal information affecting all people, including minorities. story.
In response to a Tweet on the suspension of the account, Musk, who describes himself as a liberal, tweeted: “The same doxxing law applies to ‘journalists’ as everyone else,” a reference to Twitter’s ban sharing personal information, called doxxing.
Musk’s tweet referred to Twitter’s suspension Wednesday of @elonjet, an account that directly monitors its private jets using data in the public domain. Musk also threatened legal action against those responsible for the account, saying his son had followed the wrong path with a “crazy person”.
It is unclear whether all journalists have suspended their accounts or shared information about @elonjet.
Musk tweeted on Thursday, “Criticizing me all day is fine, but immediately changing my position and putting my family at risk is not.”
He had tweeted last month that his commitment to freedom of speech extended “even to not banning accounts that follow my flight, even though that is a personal security risk”.
He tweeted on Thursday that there would be a seven-day moratorium on doxxing, following a poll asking Twitter users to vote on when to reinstate doxxed accounts.
He then said that he had given many options in the poll and that he would repeat it, when the results showed that some 43% voted for the restoration of the account “now” – the largest margin for any option.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The suspension echoes Twitter’s tumultuous behavior since Musk took over, including the rapid firing of executives and thousands of employees, a review of how much money will be charged for Twitter’s subscription service Twitter Blue, and the reinstatement of banned accounts, including former president Donald Trump.
Twitter is now relying on automation to moderate content, eliminating some manual reviews and enforcing restrictions on sharing rather than removing certain issues outright, its new head of trust and security, Ella Irwin, told Reuters on this month.
‘THE QUESTION THAT DOESN’T EXIST’
Among the journalist accounts suspended on Thursday was that of Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell (@drewharwell), who wrote on Mastodon’s social media that he had recently written about Musk and included a link to “the data on a public, legally-acquired face.”
Twitter also suspended the official account of Mastodon (@joinmastodon), which appeared as an alternative to Twitter. Mastodon could not immediately be reached for comment.
Sally Buzbee, the Post’s editor-in-chief, said Harwell’s suspension undermined Musk’s assertion that he intended to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.
Harwell, however, was able to speak in an open Twitter chat with fellow reporters late Thursday, Musk’s own conversation came up short.
“You dox, you quit. End of story,” Musk said in the conversation after Harwell rejected the claim that he revealed Musk’s real whereabouts, saying that he only posted about @elonjet.
Twitter updated its policy on Wednesday to ban the sharing of “live location information.”
The accounts of Times reporter Ryan Mac (@rmac18), CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan (@donie), and Mashable reporter Matt Binder @MattBinder were also suspended, as was that of freelance journalist Aaron Rupar (@atrupar), who covers US policy and politics.
Mac recently posted a series of Twitter threads on @elonjet’s suspension and interviewed Jack Sweeney, who has operated the account for 20 years.
A spokesperson for The New York Times called the suspensions “an innocent inquiry. Neither the Times nor Ryan received any explanation as to why this happened. We hope that all reporters’ accounts have been restored.” and Twitter provides a satisfactory explanation for this behavior.”
CNN said it had asked Twitter for an explanation for the suspension and would reevaluate its relationship with the platform based on the response.
Other reporters could not immediately be reached for comment.
Statement by Sheila Dang, Greg Bensinger, Katie Paul, Paresh Dave, Hyunjoo Jin, Costas Pitas, Maria Ponnezhath, Rhea Binoy, Abinaya V; Written by Sayantani Ghosh; Edited by William Mallard
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