Twitter has banned the accounts of several high-profile journalists and its upstart rival, Mastodon.
In a sudden purge, it seems to be mocking Elon MuskThe billionaire, a self-described free speech absolutist, suggested journalists were fired for sharing personal information about him.
These include reporters from CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Intercept and Mashable.
“The same doxxing rules apply to ‘reporters’ and everyone else,” Musk said.
Musk mentioned “doxxing rules”, which means sharing personal information, via Twitter Suspends an account that specifically tracks its owner’s jet.
He threatens legal action against @ElonJet owner, saying it’s a threat to his ‘personal safety’ Claim a ‘crazy stalker’ attacked a car with his young son.
Musk said banned journalists were being punished for tweeting about bot accounts, tweeting: “It’s perfectly fine to criticize me all day long, but not to doxx my real-time location and endanger my family gone.”
‘Potentially Harmful’ Mastodon Blocked
Some journalists have since questioned the suspension of their posts on Mastodon, TwitterSimilar platforms have become a popular alternative after Musk bought them for $44 billion in October.
Mastodon itself has had its account banned on Twitter, and tweets containing links to certain servers and other content have been blocked as “potentially harmful.”
Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell, a reporter banned from Twitter, wrote on Mastodon that he recently wrote to Musk and posted a link to a “publicly available, legally obtained data” link.
The newspaper’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, said the ban undermines Musk’s free speech agenda.
Everything You Need to Know About Mastodon
“Suspicious and unfortunate”
Another banned reporter, NYT’s Ryan Mac, has tweeted multiple times about @ElonJet’s suspension and interviewed its owner, 20-year-old Jack Sweeney.
A spokesperson for The New York Times said the bans were “suspicious and unfortunate” and called on all journalists to have their accounts reinstated.
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Musk has said the ban will last seven days because he ignored the results of a poll he conducted that showed a majority of people voted to restore them “now.”
His previous behavior is consistent with his Twitter poll results, such as Recovering Donald Trump’s Account.
“People power” were the first words he introduced when he introduced Twitter’s revamped Blue subscription service, It grants customers the blue tick previously reserved for verified accounts.
“Sorry, too many options. Will redo the polls,” he said.
The new version, which asks whether journalists should be reinstated immediately or within 7 days, leads “now” by almost 20% of the votes by almost 1.5 million votes at the time of writing.
CNN has asked Twitter to explain the bans, the media said.
In a rare statement following Musk’s mass layoffs, Twitter’s media relations team was disrupted, with a spokesperson telling tech site The Verge that the ban was related to location data sharing.
Twitter updated its policy on Wednesday to prohibit the sharing of “real-time location information.”
That’s despite Musk tweeting last month that his commitment to free speech extends to “not even banning the account from being used behind my plane, even if it directly endangers personal safety.”
@ElonJet has now found a home on Mastodon and shared in its latest update that the plane landed in San Jose, CA on Thursday night 3 hours and 19 minutes after taking off from Austin, TX.
Elon Musk is no longer the richest man in the world
Musk tweeted on Thursday night: “If someone publishes the real-time location and address of a NYT reporter, the FBI will investigate, Capitol Hill will hold a hearing, and Biden will give a speech on the end of democracy!”
The owner of @ElonJet, which has run similar accounts for other billionaire planes like Jeff Bezos, argues that the bot only tracks the plane, not the people on it.