Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, made a serious attempt on Thursday evening, December 15, to exert his power over the platform by banning the accounts of several high-profile journalists working for top news organizations.
Accounts belonging to CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, and other journalists who have covered Musk extensively in the past few weeks were all suddenly and permanently suspended without explanation. Additionally, progressive independent journalist Aaron Rupar’s account was terminated for inappropriate content.
Musk asserted that the journalists had violated his new policy about “doxxing” by disclosing his live location, which he equated to what he called “assassination coordinates.
despite the fact that Donie O’Sullivan did not reveal the billionaire’s current living place.
Shortly before he was suspended, O’Sullivan reported on Twitter that the social media company had suspended the account of an emerging competitive social media service called Mastodon. This account had allowed the continued posting of @ElonJet, which is an account that posts the updated location of Musk’s private jet. O’Sullivan was suspended shortly after his report was published.
Doxxing is the act of publishing another person’s home address or other personal information online without that person’s consent. Instead, the blocked user had made use of publicly available flight data, which are still online and can be accessed by anyone, in order to follow Musk’s jet.
It is alarming, but not shocking, that a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, have been suspended due to irrational and unreasonable concerns. “Everyone who uses Twitter should be extremely concerned about Twitter’s rising instability and volatility,” a representative for CNN stated.
The widespread bans were described as “questionable and unfortunate” by a representative for the New York Times, who went on to say that neither the newspaper nor Ryan had received any explanation regarding why this had taken place. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Twitter will provide a satisfactory justification for this step and that all of the journalist accounts will be restored.
According to statements made by Harwell to CNN on Thursday, “Elon says he is a free speech advocate, and he is banning journalists for exercising their free speech rights.” “That makes me wonder about his dedication,” I thought to myself.
Rupar stated that he has “not heard anything” from Twitter regarding the suspension of his account.
On Wednesday, Twitter implemented a series of new restrictions that banned accounts that track people’s live locations. As a result, the @ElonJet account, which had gained more than 500,000 followers, was permanently suspended.