Elon Musk says the journalists’ accounts have been suspended because of Twitter’s new policy, which bans accounts that track private jets.
Social media platform Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of several journalists who have been covering the company and Elon Musk’s takeover of it.
The move comes a day after the social media platform changed its policies. Under the new policy, the Twitter accounts of those tracking private jets, including the one owned by Elon Musk, could be suspended.
Journalists whose accounts have been suspended include New York Times reporter Ryan Mack, Washington Post correspondent Drew Hall, CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan, Mashable’s Matt Binder, The Intercept’s Micah Lee and Voice of America’s Steve Herman included.
Accounts of freelance journalists such as Aaron Ropar, Tony Webster and Keith Olbermann have also been suspended. As an alternative to Twitter, the Twitter account of Mastodon, a well-known social media company, has also been suspended. Twitter has not officially explained why it suspended these accounts.
A New York Times spokesperson called the suspension “questionable and regrettable” and said they hoped “Twitter will satisfactorily explain this action.” CNN said in a statement that the “aggressive and unjustified suspension” was concerning, “but not surprising.” “We have sought clarification from Twitter and will reevaluate our relationship based on that response,” CNN said in a statement.
Some of the journalists whose accounts have been suspended were tweeting about the suspension of the @Elonjet account on Wednesday. This account has more than five lakh followers. The @Elonjet account was owned by Jack Sweeney and was publicly available to track Musk’s plane movements.
Elon Musk said on Wednesday that the car his child was traveling in was chased by a “crazy person” in Los Angeles. They blamed Sweeney’s account for the alleged incident. In a tweet, he said that now legal action is being taken against Sweeney. “Looks like @Elonjet has been suspended,” Sweeney said in a tweet from his personal account after the suspension. After some time, his personal account was also suspended.
Musk offered Sweeney, 20, $5,000 in January in exchange for closing the account tracking his plane. After taking control of Twitter, Musk, a billionaire businessman, promised in early November that he would not touch the account, despite “a direct threat to his personal safety.”
Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday, “Any doxing account that provides real-time location information of another person should be suspended, as it violates personal safety.” Doxing refers to information that identifies a person, such as home address, phone number, etc., which may harm the said person.
After Sweeney’s account was suspended, Twitter updated its media policy to say, “You may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express permission or consent.”
“The same rules apply to journalists as everyone else,” Musk said on Thursday. In another tweet, Musk said, “Criticize me all day, no problem, but it’s not right to put my family at risk by revealing my true location.”