Elon Musk’s Twitter has banned several prominent journalists without explanation

Elon Musk’s Twitter has banned several prominent journalists without explanation

Elon Musk’s Twitter has banned several prominent journalists without explanation

New York

Twitter Thursday night banned the accounts of several high-profile journalists from major news organizations without explanation, apparently marking a significant attempt by new owner Elon Musk to exercise his unilateral authority over the platform.

Accounts belonging to CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, and other journalists who have aggressively covered Musk in recent weeks have all suddenly been permanently suspended. Independent progressive journalist Aaron Rupar’s account was also banned.

Neither Musk nor Twitter responded to a request for comment Thursday night. The platform did not explain exactly why journalists were banned from the platform.

The bans have raised a number of questions about the future of the platform, which has been dubbed a digital town square. He also seriously questioned Musk’s alleged commitment to free speech.

Musk has repeatedly said he would like to allow all legal talk on the platform; In April, the same day he announced he would buy Twitter, he tweeted, “Hope even my worst critics stay on Twitter, because that’s what free speech is all about.”

“Elon says he is a free speech advocate and is banning journalists from exercising their freedom of speech. I think that brings into question his commitment,” Harwell told CNN on Thursday. Rupar also said he heard “nothing” from Twitter about the ban.

A CNN spokesperson said the company asked Twitter for an explanation and that it would “re-evaluate our relationship based on that response.”

“The impulsive and unwarranted suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising. Twitter’s growing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern to all who use Twitter,” the spokesperson said.

A New York Times spokesperson called the mass bans “questionable and unfortunate,” adding: “Neither the Times nor Ryan have received any explanation as to why this happened. We hope all journalists’ accounts will be restored and Twitter will provide a satisfactory explanation for this action.”

The suspensions come after Twitter shut down an account belonging to Mastodon, an up-and-coming competitor, on Thursday.

The Mastodon account had tweeted earlier in the day that people could follow @ElonJet, the account that tracks Musk’s private plane on its platform, after the billionaire banned @ElonJet from Twitter on Wednesday.

That tweet is probably what went against Twitter rules. In his quest to rid Twitter of @ElonJet, Musk has introduced new policies that ban accounts that track people’s live locations.

Musk also prevented any account from linking to that information, as Mastodon did by linking to the account on his platform.

The move comes after Musk reinstated previous Twitter rule-breakers and stopped enforcing the platform’s policies that prohibit Covid-19 misinformation.

Several of the journalists banned Thursday had covered up the ban on the Mastodon account and pointed out the irony of Musk’s alleged mission to promote free speech.

“Free speech is when the second richest man in the world threatens legal action against a 20-year-old college student for sharing publicly available data he doesn’t like,” Harwell tweeted before his account was taken down, referring to Jack Sweeney, the college student who runs @ElonJet.

CNN’s O’Sullivan had also covered the story, having interviewed Sweeney and his grandmother about the matter.

“I think this is very important because of the potential chilling impact this can have for freelance journalists, independent journalists around the world, especially those who cover Elon Musk’s other companies, like Tesla and SpaceX,” O said. ‘Sullivan to CNN Thursday after his account was suspended.

As the furore over the account suspensions spread, some Twitter users reported that the platform had begun to intervene when they attempted to post links to their profiles on alternative social networks, including Mastodon.

Those reports were confirmed Thursday night by a CNN reporter who was prevented from sharing a Mastodon profile URL and received an automated error message saying that Twitter or its partners had identified the site as “potentially malicious.” .

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