Without warning, Twitter suspends journalists critical of Musk

The latest sтruggle over what can and cannot be written on the site since billionaire Elon Musk acquired control of it has resulted in Twitter suspending the accounts of several journalists who cover the social media platform.

On Thursday, the accounts of reporters working for a variety of organizations, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and Voice of America, were deactivated.

The corporation has not provided an explanation to the journalists regarding the reasons behind the deletion of their accounts, as well as their profiles and previous tweets. On the other hand, Musk rushed to Twitter late on Thursday night to accuse journalists of publishing private information about his movements, which he referred to as “essentially assassιnaтιon coordinates.” He did not offer any evidence to support such assertion.

Following Musk’s decision on Wednesday to permanently block an account that automatically tracked the flights of his private jet using publicly available data, news reporters were suԀ‌Ԁ‌enly suspended from their jobs. This move followed Musk’s decision to ban the account. This also resulted in Twitter changing its rules for all users to make it illegal to share the current location of another user without first obtaining that person’s permission.

Several of the reporters who were suspended on Thursday night had been writing about the new policy and Musk’s rationale for applying it. This rationale featured Musk’s allegations regarding a stalking episode that he alleged affected his family on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

A ban was also placed on the official account for Mastodon, which is a decentralized social network that competes with Twitter. Despite the fact that it had tweeted about the jet tracking account, the cause remained a мystery.

Musk wrote in a tweet on Thursday that the “same doxxing regulations apply to ‘journalists’ as they do to everyone else.” In a later statement, he elaborated, saying, “Criticizing me all day long is completely fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”

Disclosure of another person’s identity, address, or other personal information via the internet is referred to as “doxxing.”

Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of The Washington Post, has demanded that the Twitter account of the newspaper’s technology writer, Drew Harwell, be promptly reactivated. According to what Buzbee said, the suspension “clearly challenges” the assertion made by Elon Musk that he aims to administer Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech. “After the release of his factual reporting regarding Musk, Harwell was expelled without any prior notice, procedure, or explanation.”

“the abrupt and unjustifiable suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is troubling but not suгргιsing,” CNN stated in a statement.

According to an additional statement released by CNN, “Twitter’s growing instability and volatility should be of enormous concern for everyone who uses Twitter.” We have sent a request to Twitter requesting an explanation, and once we have received one, we will reconsider our partnership with them.

Matt Binder, a writer for the technology news outlet Mashable who was also banned, stated that he was barred on Thursday night immediately after sharing a screenshot that O’Sullivan had shared prior to the CNN reporter being suspended.

The screenshot displayed a statement that the Los Angeles Police Department had sent earlier on Thursday to multiple media outlets, including The Associated Press, about how it was in contact with Musk’s representatives about the alleged stalking incident, but that no crime report had yet been filed. The statement said that while the LAPD was in contact with Musk’s representatives about the incident, no official report of the alleged stalking had yet been filed.

According to Twitter’s new conditions, I did not share any location data that I had. In an email, Binder stated, “I also did not give any links to the location tracking account ElonJet or any other accounts.” Although I have been quite critical of Musk, I have never violated any of Twitter’s mentioned regulations in the process.

Binder stated that he was able to determine the length of his suspension based on a message he received while attempting to access his Twitter account. In answer to a follow-up question regarding his decision to terminate Keith Olbermann’s hosting duties at ESPN and MSNBC, Musk later said that the ban would run for one week.

Musk participated in a Twitter Spaces conference chat organized by writer Kate Notopoulos of Buzzfeed for a short period of time late on Thursday. He repeated his allegations that the journalists whose Twitter accounts were suspended for jet tracking were “doxxing” him when they reported on Twitter’s decision to ban jet tracking accounts.

After being asked by the Post’s Drew Harwell if he saw a connection between the stalker incident and the sharing of real-time information, Musk responded, “There is not preferential treatment for journalists.”

He continued by saying, “You dox, you get suspended, end of story,” before abruptly signing out of the chat. The Spaces came to an abrupt stop just after 9 o’clock in the evening local time.

At approximately 9:14 p.m. Pacific Time, the host, Notopoulos, tweeted, “Sorry it looks the Space cut out, screen was instantly black on my end, and everyone got booted.”

Another suspended reporter, Steve Herman of Voice of America, said he assumes the reason he was banned is “because I was tweeting about other journalists being suspended for tweeting about accounts being booted that had linked to the Elon Jet feed.” Herman’s tweets were about the suspension of other journalists for tweeting about the booting of accounts that had linked to the Elon Jet feed.

The suspensions come as Musk is in the process of making significant changes to the way content is moderated on Twitter. Through the release of a curated collection of corporate records that he has called “The Twitter Files,” he has endeavored to prove that the platform actively censored right-wing viewpoints while it was run by its predecessors.

However, he has also stated that he will suppress negativity and hate by depriving some accounts of “freedom of reach.” He has promised to let free speech reign and has reinstated high-profile accounts that previously broke Twitter’s rules against hateful conduct or harmful misinformation. However, he has also said that he will let free speech reign.

The non-profit Committee to Protect Journalists, which fights for the rights of journalists all around the world, expressed its worry about the suspensions late on Thursday night.

“If confirmed as retaliation for their work, this would be a serious breach of journalists’ freedom to report the news without fear of punishment,” the organization stated. “This would be a serious violation of journalists’ right to report the news without fear of reprisal.”

Vera Jourova, the European Union Commissioner who is in charge of the work that the 27-nation union does on values and transparency, provided her two cents as well.

She sent out a message titled “News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is concerning.” The “respect of media freedom and fundamental rights” is a requirement of both the current EU media laws and the new digital legislation that will go into force the following year.

Jourova is quoted as have replied, “@elonmusk ought to be aware of that. There are lines drawn in red. And Sanctions, Coming Soon!

According to the new regulations proposed by the EU, large technology companies would be required to provide customers in European countries with an explanation as to why their accounts were stopped and the opportunity to contest the decision. Infractions would result in hefty fines, and repeated crimes might ultimately lead to a prohibition on doing business across Europe.

The government of Germany added some additional criticism. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that it has “had an issue” since it is unable to track the accounts that have been suspended, and it added that “press freedom must not be switched on and off at will.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a presence on Mastodon, according to Spokesman Christofer Burger, “to ensure that we stay approachable.”