Twitter, now led by CEO Elon Musk, has suspended at least six establishment media journalists on Thursday evening for allegedly violating the platform’s rules against doxxing.
The accounts that have been suspended include New York Times technology reporter Ryan Mac, Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, former Vox reporter Aaron Rupar, CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan and Mashable’s Matt Binder.
Twitter suspended the accounts for allegedly tweeting real-time location information regarding Musk’s private jet, which violates the platform’s rules.
The rules were updated on Wednesday following news that location information regarding Musk had likely led to an individual stalking and attacking a vehicle that his two-year-old son was riding in.
BREAKING: Elon Musk releases footage of black-masked assailant who stalked his sonhttps://t.co/qKOokBPf3E
— Pillows 🎅🏻 Slippers 🎄 (@JackPosobiec) December 15, 2022
“Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation,” Musk tweeted Wednesday. “This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info. Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.”
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.
Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 15, 2022
The account tracking Musk’s plane — @ElonJet, which was created by University of Central Florida college student Jack Sweeney — used public data from plane transponders that log longitude, latitude and altitude to track the flight path of the tech billionaire’s private jet.
Musk had previously tweeted that his “commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” but it appears that the incident involving his son has changed his views.
Meanwhile, the left-wing journalists who were suspended by Twitter apparently thought that they were above the rules — choosing to tweet links to the tracking information for Musk’s plane despite it being a violation of Twitter’s terms of service and Musk making it clear in numerous tweets.
so far, i’ve been able to confirm about half the accounts suspended posted links to the jet tracker thing in violation of the new doxx’ing policy. unclear just yet about the rest, but i think it’s safe to say the rule is for real. https://t.co/8MDCG19kNO
— Mike Solana (@micsolana) December 16, 2022
The New York Times and CNN have both released statements regarding their journalists’ suspensions.
“Tonight’s suspension of the Twitter accounts of a number of prominent journalists, including the New York Times’s Ryan Mac, is questionable and unfortunate,” the New York Times’ statement read. “Neither The Times nor Ryan have received any explanation about why this occurred. We hope that all of the journalists’ accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for its action.”
CNN’s statement read: “The impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising. Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses the platform. We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”
CNN has now claimed that it plans to “reevaluate” its “relationship with Twitter” following the suspension of journalists.
Cry more https://t.co/v3QK9I9jMq
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) December 16, 2022
Musk has responded to critics of his decision to suspend these accounts, writing: “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service.”
He also pointed out the hypocrisy of the mainstream media and the left’s sudden outcry over free speech — noting that if the doxxing were happening to one of their allies, the reaction would be quite different.
“If anyone posted real-time locations & addresses of NYT reporters, FBI would be investigating, there’d be hearings on Capitol Hill & Biden would give speeches about end of democracy!” Musk tweeted.
Still, the Twitter CEO has continued with his typical method of decision-making, posting a poll for Twitter users asking when he should reinstate the accounts that were suspended — similar to the polls asking about reinstating former President Donald Trump’s account and other banned accounts.
Musk asked respondents when he should “Unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time,” providing two answers — “Now” and “In 7 days.” The poll had received roughly 900,000 votes in the first two hours, with 57.5% of respondents saying “Now.”
Unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2022