Twitter suspended on Thursday records of in excess of about six columnists who had been expounding on the organization and its new proprietor Elon Musk.
The most recent controversy Musk has sparked since taking over the company, which has seen staffing eliminated and advertisers leave, is that he has silenced journalists at Twitter while claiming to be a champion of free speech.
Twitter shutting down an @ElonJet account that tracked the flights of billionaire Musk’s private jet and versions of that account hosted on other social networks were topics of some of the journalists’ tweets.
Twitter did not specify the reason behind the reporters’ account suspensions.
Journalists who cover Elon Musk have been suspended on Twitter tonight: @Donie O'Sullivan from CNN, Aaron Rupar and the Washington Post's @drewharwell.— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) December 16, 2022
Rupar tells me he has "no idea" why it happened.
In a tweet in response to posts regarding the suspensions, PoliticusUSA’s Sarah Reese Jones stated, “Nothing says free speech like suspending journalists who cover you.”
Twitter checks revealed that independent journalists as well as reporters from CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post had their accounts suspended.
“The imprudent and ridiculous suspension of various columnists, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning yet to be expected,” the news association said in a tweet.
Statement on tonight's suspension of CNN's @donie O'Sullivan: pic.twitter.com/TQGsysxvpf— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) December 16, 2022
“Everyone who uses Twitter should be extremely concerned about Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility.”
CNN stated that it had requested an explanation for the suspension from Twitter.
The New York Times said in a statement that it also needed clarification from Twitter regarding the “questionable” suspension of journalists.
In a Substack post, independent journalist Aaron Rupar, whose Twitter account was suspended, wrote, “I have no idea what rules I purportedly broke.”
“I haven’t heard from Twitter at all,” says the author.
In a tweet late on Thursday, Musk seemed to imply the suspension of the columnists’ records with this tweet: ” The FBI would be looking into it, there would be hearings on Capitol Hill, and Vice President Biden would give speeches about the end of democracy if anyone posted real-time locations and addresses of NYT reporters!
Unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2022
Musk appeared to attribute the alleged incident to the tracking of his jet when he tweeted on Wednesday that a car in Los Angeles carrying one of his children was followed by “a crazy stalker.” He said in the tweet that the person who ran ElonJet is the target of legal action.
Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 15, 2022
Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.
The Twitter account that followed trips of Musk’s personal luxury plane was closed down on Wednesday notwithstanding the tycoon’s explanation that he is a free discourse absolutist.
Later, Twitter announced that it had updated its policy to say that tweets shouldn’t usually reveal a person’s location in real-time.
As part of his commitment to the platform’s right to free speech, Musk had made it clear that he would never touch @ElonJet after spending $44 billion to acquire the social media platform.
Since Musk took over at the end of October, Twitter has been mired in controversy.
Regulators were spooked by the billionaire’s assertion of free speech and drew their attention to it.
Musk has reinstated the account of the former president of the United States and attacked Anthony Fauci, the departed key advisor for the United States’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic and a frequent target of right-wing media vitriol.
CNN has announced that Twitter’s previous head of trust and security escaped his home after outlandish assaults on Twitter content balance, embraced by Musk.
In the meantime, more than half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees were laid off as a result of a purge initiated by Musk. Now, many of them are taking the SpaceX and Tesla tycoon to court.
Musk once gave the impression that he and Apple were going to fight over the App Store, but he later tweeted that it was just a “misunderstanding.” Insider Intelligence, a market tracker, predicts that users will leave Twitter.
Jasmine Enberg, an analyst with Insider Intelligence, stated, “There won’t be one catastrophic event that ends Twitter.”
Instead, “users will begin leaving the platform next year as they grow frustrated with technical issues and the proliferation of hateful or other unsavory content.”