Twitter Abruptly Suspends Numerous Tech Journalists

Musk claims they violated new policy on revealing locations
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2022 5:04 AM CST
Twitter Suspends Numerous Journalists for Being 'Naughty'
A sign at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Elon Musk's claims to be a "free speech absolutist" were questioned once again Thursday night when Twitter abruptly suspended the accounts of numerous journalists who had been reporting on the CEO, including tech journalists from the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and Mashable. Musk claimed they had violated Twitter's new policy on sharing "live location information" and had posted "basically assassination coordinates" for him and his family, though the Post says it has seen no evidence any of the journalists did so. Some of them had, however, been reporting on Twitter's banning of @ElonJet, an account that tracked the movements of Musk's private jet. Gizmodo reports that at least nine journalists were banned, including former MSNBC correspondent Keith Olbermann.

Open-source Twitter competitor Mastodon was also suspended and many links to Mastodon have been flagged as "potentially harmful" on Twitter and no longer work, TechCrunch reports. "Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not," Musk tweeted Thursday night. He crowed about the suspensions in later tweets, saying the journalists had been "naughty" and had to follow the same rules as everybody else. Some journalists were notified that they had been permanently banned, but Musk said the suspensions would last seven days. Musk later posted a poll asking whether the ban should be lifted now, tomorrow, a week from now, or after a longer period, the Guardian reports.

When "Now" won the poll, with 43% in favor, Musk said there had been too many options and reposted it with immediate reinstatement or a weeklong suspension as the only options. "It’s impossible to square Twitter’s free speech aspirations with the purging of critical journalists’ accounts," ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. "The First Amendment protects Musk’s right to do this, but it’s a terrible decision. Their accounts should be restored immediately." Other critics included Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted: "I get feeling unsafe, but descending into abuse of power + erratically banning journalists only increases the intensity around you. Take a beat and lay off the proto-fascism. Maybe try putting down your phone." Musk responded: "You first lol." (More Twitter stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.