Elon Musk defended Twitter’s decision to suspend the accounts of several prominent journalists on Thursday, citing violations of Twitter’s policies on “doxxing.”
Elon Musk defended Twitter’s decision to suspend the accounts of several prominent journalists on Thursday, citing violations of Twitter’s policies on “doxxing.” “You dox, you get suspended,” Musk told journalists on Thursday night. “End of story.”
- Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” tweeted, “Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else.” Doxxing refers to the public sharing of personal information to encourage harassment.
- Twitter’s CEO claimed the accounts were suspended for linking to a website that tracks his private jet. Musk characterized the publication of his real-time location as “assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service.”
- Reporters from The New York Times, the Washington Post, Voice of America, CNN, and other publications were all permanently suspended on Thursday night. Their suspensions came one day after Musk permanently banned a Twitter account that tracked the flights of his private jet.
- Twitter did not warn the reporters before suspending their accounts and did not explain why those specific accounts were suspended. Several of the journalists had recently tweeted criticisms of Musk or shared information about the private jet account.
- The suspensions created an instant media firestorm. “Mainstream” and left-leaning publications decried Musk’s move as censorship and an attempt to silence his critics, while conservative-leaning users dismissed their concerns as “hypocrisy.”
- Some conservative Twitter users celebrated the turn of events from Twitter’s apparent censorship of conservative voices under the previous regime.
- The European Union threatened Musk with sanctions over the suspensions, alleging they were possible violations of “red lines” in the EU’s Digital Services Act. The Act is currently working through the corruption-plagued European Parliament and could be in force by next year.
- POLITICO argued what it called the “three most discussed leaders on the American right,” – Kevin McCarthy, Donald Trump, and Elon Musk – may have had a “good week” despite a torrent of media criticism. The Senate’s passage of the omnibus bill was a “political gift to McCarthy” even as he criticized it. Musk’s Twitter dustup only gives Twitter more “attention, press, and power.” Trump, on the other hand, began a reset of his campaign after its disastrous first month.
- Per The New York Times, the following media accounts were suspended by Twitter on Thursday: Ryan Mac of The New York Times; Drew Harwell of The Washington Post; Aaron Rupar, an independent journalist; Donie O’Sullivan of CNN; Matt Binder of Mashable; Tony Webster, an independent journalist; Micah Lee of The Intercept; and the former sports broadcaster and current political journalist Keith Olbermann.
- CNN’s spokesperson asked Twitter for clarification after their reporter Donie O’Sullivan was suspended. The company blasted Twitter in a statement: “The impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising. Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses Twitter.”
- According to Breitbart, “Twitter released new rules Wednesday prohibiting the sharing of “live location information” after Musk revealed his child was stalked due to his private jet’s location being publicly shared.” It was this rule change that apparently ensnared the journalists Musk suspended.
- The Wall Street Journal noted Twitter also suspended the official account of Mastodon, a potential Twitter competitor that many left-leaning journalists have promoted in recent months. No explanation for the suspension was given.
- National Review’s Philip Klein argues both Musk and liberal journalists are hypocrites when it comes to free speech. “But as hypocritical as it may be for leftist journalists to whine about arbitrary Twitter suspensions, what Musk is doing here is also hypocritical. The true test of whether somebody is an actual champion of open speech is not whether he allows speech he’s more sympathetic to but if he allows speech he finds disagreeable. And so far, Musk is failing that test.”
© Dominic Moore, 2022