Twitter, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, also a self-proclaimed free speech advocate, began banning a number of notable journalists on Thursday.
The platform was removed from New York Times writer Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, Mashable’s Matt Binder, CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, The Intercept’s Micah Lee, political commentator Keith Olbermann, freelance journalist Aaron Rupar and freelance journalist Tony Webster.
Musk imposed a “7-day suspension for doxing” in response to Rebecca Mansour’s concerns about the suspensions. Later that night, he issued a poll on Twitter asking users to vote on the terms of the ban.
Musk claimed the bans were put in place to protect his “family.” In addition, he stated in a separate tweet: “They broadcast my actual position in real time, practically murder coordinates, in (apparent) flagrant violation of Twitter service rules.” There is no evidence that the journalists endangered Musk or his family.
—Brennan Murphy (@brenonade) December 16, 2022
Journalists, on the other hand, have a similar thread of negative coverage of Musk and his management and policy decisions since he took over Twitter in October, including a recent dispute over the shutdown of a Twitter account that tracked Musk’s private jet. Musk. Musk issued a retroactive amendment to Twitter’s content moderation policy, stating that any instance of sharing real-time location data would be deemed misleading and would result in account termination.
Musk attempted to link aircraft tracking data developer Jack Sweeney’s product to an event in which he alleges a man followed a car carrying his son. There is no evidence that the individual was motivated by or obtained any information from Sweeney’s account. However, Musk threatened him with legal action.
They broadcast my exact position in real time, which is essentially murder coordinates, in (apparent) flagrant violation of Twitter’s terms of service, according to a tweet from Musk earlier in the evening. The ElonJet account at the links you disagreed with automatically disseminates information about the flight path of Musk’s private jet that is available to the general public.
Accounts like ElonJet are often used by climate activists to highlight the serious environmental impact private jets have. CelebJet and RUOligarchJets have also been suspended. Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Elon Musk have faced criticism this year for using planes when greener alternatives could be used.
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