Twitter suspends journalists who cover Elon Musk

Twitter did not offer any explanation as to why it removed the accounts and caused their profiles and previous tweets to disappear.

SAN FRANCISCO – Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of journalists covering the social networking platform and its new owner, Elon Musk, among them reporters working for The New York Times. , Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America and other publications.

The company did not explain to journalists why it removed the accounts and made their profiles and previous tweets disappear. But Musk took to Twitter on Thursday night to accuse journalists of sharing personal information about his whereabouts, which he described as “basically assassination coordinates.” He provided no evidence for that claim.

The abrupt suspension of news reporters follows Musk’s decision Wednesday to permanently ban an account that automatically tracks the flights of his private jets using publicly available data. . It also prompted Twitter to change its rules for all users to prohibit sharing other people’s current location without their consent.

Several reporters suspended on Thursday night wrote about that new policy and the reasons Musk imposed it, regarding his allegation of a stalking case he said affected the family. him on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

“The same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as they do to everyone else,” Musk tweeted on Thursday. He later added: “Criticizing me all day is perfectly fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”

“Doxxing” refers to the online disclosure of someone’s identity, address, or other personal details.

The Washington Post’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, has called for the immediate restoration of tech reporter Drew Harwell’s Twitter account. The suspension “directly undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech,” Buzbee wrote. “Harwell was evicted without warning, due process or explanation following the publication of his accurate report on Musk.”

CNN said in a statement that “the impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising.”

“Twitter’s growing instability and volatility will be of incredible concern to all who use Twitter,” the statement added. “We’ve asked Twitter for an explanation, and we’ll reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”

Another suspended journalist, Matt Binder of tech news agency Mashable, said he was banned on Thursday night shortly after sharing a screenshot O’Sullivan posted before the CNN reporter was suspended. only.

The screenshot shows a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department sent earlier on Thursday to various media outlets, including the Associated Press, about how they contacted Musk’s representatives about the defendant’s case. surveillance, but no crime reports have been filed.

“I do not share any location data, according to the new Twitter terms. I also do not share any links to ElonJet or other location tracking accounts,” Binder said in an email. “I have been very critical of Musk but have never violated any of Twitter’s listed policies.”

Binder said a message he received when trying to access his Twitter account indicated his permanent suspension. But then Musk suggested the punishment would be a week long in response to a question about his suspension of former ESPN and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann.

Late on Thursday, Musk joined a short chat on Twitter Spaces hosted by Buzzfeed journalist Kate Notopoulos. He reiterated his claim that the journalists that Twitter was banned from “doxxing” him when they covered the banned jet-following accounts.

“There is no special treatment for journalists,” Musk said after being asked by the Post’s Drew Harwell if he had any connection between the real-time tracking and posting.

“Idiot, you’re suspended, it’s over,” he added, before abruptly logging out. Spaces abruptly ended shortly after 9pm Pacific Time.

The Notopoulos host tweeted at 9:14 p.m. Pacific: “Sorry, it looks like Space is cut, the screen is suddenly blank on my side and everyone is booted up.

Another suspended reporter, Voice of America’s Steve Herman, said he considers himself banned “because I tweeted about other journalists being suspended for tweeting about hacked accounts.” has a link to the Elon Jet feed.”

The suspension comes as Musk makes major changes to content moderation on Twitter. He tried, through the release of select corporate documents called “Twitter Files,” to claim that the platform suppressed right-wing voices under previous leaders. its.

He has promised to let free speech reign and restored popular accounts that had previously violated Twitter’s rules on hateful conduct or harmful misinformation, but also said that he It will stop negativity and hatred by depriving some accounts of “free access”.

The nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists, which protects journalists around the world, said on Thursday night that it was concerned about the suspension.

“If confirmed as retaliation for their work, it would be a serious violation of journalists’ right to report without fear of reprisal,” the group said. Twitter suspends journalists who cover Elon Musk

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