January 29, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter suspended the accounts of about a half-dozen prominent journalists on Thursday, the latest change for the social media service under its new owner, Elon Musk.

Suspended accounts include Ryan Mac of The New York Times; Drew Harwell of The Washington Post; Aaron Rupar, an independent reporter; Donie O’Sullivan of CNN; Matt Binder of Mashable; ; Micah Lee of The Intercept; and political reporter Keith Olbermann. It’s unclear what the suspensions had in common; each user’s Twitter page included a message saying that accounts had been suspended for “violating Twitter’s rules.”

A day earlier, Twitter suspended more than 25 accounts tracking the planes of government agencies, billionaires and high-profile individuals, including Mr. Musk. Many of the accounts were run by Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old college student and flight-tracking enthusiast, who used Twitter to post updates about the location of Mr. Musk’s private jet using publicly available information.

Last month, Mr. Musk said he would keep the account allowed to track his private jet on Twitter, even though he said it posed a security threat. “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning accounts that follow my plane, even if that is an immediate personal safety risk,” he said in a tweet at the time.

But he changed his mind this week after he claimed the car in which one of his sons was traveling was accosted by a “crazy stalker”.Wednesday, Mr. Musk tweets Any account that posts “anyone’s real-time location” will be suspended as a breach of personal safety. This includes posting links to websites with real-time location information. “

Some of the journalists whose accounts were suspended had written about or tweeted about accounts that tracked private jets. Some have also written articles critical of Mr. Musk and his ownership of Twitter. Many of them have tens of thousands of followers on the platform.

Musk did not respond to a request for comment, and Twitter did not respond to an email for comment. In a tweet, Mr. Musk said Twitter’s rules on “doxxing” — which refers to sharing someone’s personal files, including information such as their address — “apply to ‘journalists’ as well as everyone else.” He did not Detailed description.

“Tonight’s suspension of the Twitter accounts of some high-profile journalists, including Ryan Mack of The New York Times, is questionable and unfortunate,” said New York Times spokesman Charlie Stadtland. We do not want any explanation as to why this happened. We hope to have all journalists’ accounts reinstated and Twitter to provide a satisfactory explanation for this action.”

Representatives for The Washington Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment. CNN spokeswoman Kristine Coratti Kelly said the suspension was “concerning but not surprising” and that “Twitter’s increased instability and volatility should cause people’s great attention”. Appearing on CNN after his account was suspended, O’Sullivan said Twitter’s actions could intimidate journalists who cover Musk’s companies.

“Disappointed to see me deactivated from Twitter without any explanation,” Mr Webster, whose account was deactivated, said in an emailed comment. He added that he tweeted about a Twitter account that tracked Mr. Musk’s private jet before he was suspended.

Mr. Binder, a Mashable reporter, said he had been critical of Mr. Musk but had not violated any of the policies laid out by Twitter.

After being deactivated by Twitter, Mr Sweeney turned to alternative social network Mastodon. Twitter suspended Mastodon’s account on Thursday after Mastodon used Twitter to promote Mr Sweeney’s new account. As some journalists shared news of Mastodon’s deactivation, their own accounts were also deactivated.

Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last October, has said his acquisition will expand free speech on the platform and allow more people to participate in the public conversation. In recent weeks, he has allowed some banned users to return to the platform, including former President Donald J. Trump, who was banned from his account following the Jan. 6, 2021, riots on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Musk said in October that he would form a committee to advise him on policy issues before making changes to the company’s content moderation policy. Council did not materialize. This week, Mr. Musk disbanded a trust and safety advisory group that had guided Twitter on thorny issues such as harassment and child exploitation.

“I hope even my harshest critics stay on Twitter because that’s what free speech is about,” Mr. Musk tweeted in April shortly after announcing his intention to buy the company.





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