Twitter suspends journalists that criticize Elon Musk

Twitter suspends journalists that criticize Elon Musk

/ 09:13 AM December 16, 2022

On Thursday evening, Twitter started suspending the accounts of journalists who often criticize and investigate the platform and its new owner, Elon Musk. The suspension of these high-profile journalists contradicts the billionaire’s goal of creating a free-speech platform.

The suspension of news reporters was an unexpected turn of events. It stemmed from tech mogul Musk’s decision to permanently ban an account that tracked the flights of his private jet.


This incident has started a chain reaction, leading Twitter to change its rules for all users concerning sharing another person’s current location without their consent. 

Twitter suspended the accounts of Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Matt Binder of Mashable, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, Steve Herman of Voice of America, and Micah Lee of The Intercept.

Moreover, some independent journalists didn’t escape the suspension. The independent reporters are Keith Olbermann, Aaron Rupar, and Tony Webster. 

The social media platform did not explain why it banned journalists. However, in a series of tweets, Musk said that the journalists had committed some of the platform’s violations. He claims they had violated his new “doxxing” policy by sharing his “exact real-time” location.

The tech mogul took to Twitter on Thursday night to accuse journalists of sharing private information about his whereabouts. Musk also referred to the information as “basically assassination coordinates.”

This accusation came in response to the company taking down accounts and deleting profiles and tweets without explaining. Despite Musk’s claims, there is currently no evidence of his accusation.

Twitter rules

After the suspensions, Elon Musk had a heated discussion with one of the journalists he suspended. Over 30,000 had listened to their discussion. They are using the website’s audio function, which some journalists have found a way to access. 

Musk said, “You doxx, you get suspended. End of story. That’s it.” He was talking about Twitter’s new rules change about accounts that track private jets. It includes one of Musk too. But the platform already resolved it on Wednesday. 

Moreover, Twitter suspended Mastodon’s account early Thursday night. Mastodon is an open-source social media platform looking to challenge the existing order. Despite its ever-increasing popularity, NBC News journalists could not tweet any links to Mastodon pages.

Musk commented on the suspension of several accounts from Twitter, attributing it to the platform’s new guidelines forbidding publishing information about private jet trackers. This statement came in response to a tweet that Mike Solana sent. He is the VP of Founders Fund, acknowledging that the suspended accounts had indeed posted links to such trackers on other websites. 

The Tesla CEO said, “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.” He then added that the suspensions would last for seven days. In addition, Musk had said he would not suspend the account that tracked his private jet.

Twitter Suspension Length

Moreover, Binder, a tech reporter at Mashable, said Twitter had also suspended his account. This is after he posted a screenshot from one of the reporters under suspension. The reporter is O’Sullivan of CNN. Binder said, “I’ve been on it since 2008. I never got a slap on the wrist because I always followed the rules. It’s not hard to do when you know what the rules are.” After that, he found out through a notification that his account is permanently in suspension.

He spoke of Musk, “This is the very stuff that he’s criticized the previous Twitter of doing.”  It appears he found a loophole by participating in an audio discussion on Twitter’s Spaces feature with other journalists on Thursday night. In a surprising turn of events, fellow journalist Harwell also joined in this conversation and provided interesting insight during the exchange. 

Binder even joked, “I’m breaking the law in ways that have never been broken before.”  Musk made a brief appearance in the discussion surrounding the journalists under suspension regarding their accounts on his platform. 

His poll -featuring a variety of options asking when or if he should reinstate the accounts- received a majority response in favor of immediate reinstatement. However, he immediately deleted the poll instead of following through with this preference. Then, he created a new one with fewer alternatives. 

On Thursday, O’Sullivan said that all those journalists under suspension were people who also covered Musk. “As we saw with the jet tracker last night, Musk seems to be just stamping out accounts he doesn’t like. ” The network’s spokesperson said the suspensions were “impulsive and unjustified.”

Elon Musk’s bans journalists

The network also said, “Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses Twitter. We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”

The executive director of The Washington Post, Sally Buzbee, said that Harwell’s suspension “directly undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.”

Buzbee added that he was “banished from Twitter without warning, process or explanation, following the publication of his accurate reporting about Musk.”

After initially vowing to run Twitter as a platform for free speech absolutism. Elon Musk has backtracked on his statement by reinstating some accounts associated with the QAnon movement. He’s also after other far-right groups while banning others without much explanation.

To make matters worse, recent reports have revealed an even deeper issue at stake. This appears to be an instance of self-censoring on behalf of Musk. He has reportedly been removing critics of said policies from Twitter.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
TAGS: Elon Musk, Trending, Twitter
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.