BREAKING: Twitter Suspends The Accounts Of Journalists

In a move that I guarantee is going to end badly for Elon Musk, multiple news outlets are reporting that Twitter has suspended the accounts of a number of journalists. From CNN:

Elon Musk’s Twitter banned Thursday the accounts of multiple journalists covering the technology industry without explanation.

Accounts belonging to CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, the New York Times’ Ryan Mac, and the Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and several other tech journalists were all abruptly suspended.

“Elon says he is a free speech champion and he is banning journalists for exercising free speech. I think that calls into question his commitment,” Harwell told CNN.

The account of progressive independent journalist Aaron Rupar was also banned. Rupar told CNN he has received no communication from Twitter about the ban. “Nothing,” he said in a phone call.

From NBC:

The accounts of Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, Matt Binder of Mashable, Micah Lee of The Intercept, Steve Herman of Voice of America and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann and Tony Webster had all been suspended as of Thursday evening.

The Twitter account for Mastodon, a platform billed as an alternative, was also suspended early Thursday evening.

Musk indicated that the suspensions stemmed from the platform’s new rules banning private jet trackers, responding to a tweet from Mike Solana, vice president of venture capital firm Founders Fund, who noted that the suspended accounts had posted links to jet trackers on other websites.

“Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” he added in another tweet.

Finally from Reuters:

Twitter Inc on Thursday suspended the accounts of several journalists, including ones from the New York Times and the Washington Post, with the site showing “account suspended” notices for them.

Reuters could not immediately ascertain why those accounts were suspended. All the suspended reporters have in recent months written about Twitter’s owner, billionaire Elon Musk, and changes at the platform since he bought it.

Responding to a Tweet on the account suspensions, Musk tweeted: “Same doxxing rules apply to “journalists” as to everyone else,” a reference to Twitter rules banning sharing of personal information, called doxxing. 

He added: “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”

The message here in my mind is clear. If you criticize Elon Musk, you will get suspended from Twitter. And he’s using the suspension of the account that tracks Elon’s jet as cover for what is basically an attempt to silence people. Which goes against his claims of being a free speech fanboy.

Given the attention that this is getting, I believe that a number of things are likely to happen:

  • The EU will see this and make moves to make his life miserable.
  • Departures to Mastodon will accelerate.
  • I would not at all be surprised if Capitol Hill gives him a call and asks him to explain himself in front of a Congressional Hearing.

In terms of that second point, departures to Mastodon have begun:

The circled area is a spike in Mastodon account creations in the last hour which is around the time that this news broke. That’s the law of unintended consequences working against Elon. Stay tuned to see what happens in regards to the other two points.

At this point, it’s becoming clear that staying on Twitter is a non-starter. But clearly, if you stay on Twitter, you’re enabling Elon. While I have been cross posting to Twitter and Mastodon, I believe that my days on Twitter are over. I’ll make a separate announcement about that in the next day or so. But if I were you, I would make your plans to depart Twitter for greener pastures.

4 Responses to “BREAKING: Twitter Suspends The Accounts Of Journalists”

  1. […] Straight Talk About Information Technology From A Nerd Who Speaks English « BREAKING: Twitter Suspends The Accounts Of Journalists […]

  2. […] headline that people are paying attention to is the fact that Elon Musk decided to suspend the Twitter accounts of a bunch of journalists last night. That has gotten the predictable blow back that you’d expect from such a dumb move, including […]

  3. […] on Thursday, Elon Musk suspended the Twitter accounts of several journalists who covered him. And presumably he didn’t like […]

  4. […] might recall that Elon locked out a bunch of journalists from Twitter because they were allegedly “doxing” him which is broadcasting his location to the […]

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