Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of several journalists for sharing private information about the whereabouts of its owner Elon Musk. After the suspension, the journalists’ profiles and tweets posted by them disappeared. This included CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, The New York Times’ Ryan Mack, and many others.
Twitter’s decision to ban the accounts of journalists accused of tracking their private jet flights using publicly available data was not well received by the public. In a survey conducted by Elon Musk among his followers on when the ban should be lifted, the results favored lifting the ban as soon as possible.
However, Musk then called off the vote, saying he had too many options and would have a do-over. As of writing, and after more than 2.2 million votes, New survey Also has the right to immediately remove suspended accounts.
Although the suspended journalists could not access their accounts, they made a backdoor entry through the website’s audio discussion platform Twitter Spaces. There, Musk squared off with The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and justified his action with a one-line response – “You docs, you’re suspended, end of story”. The audio session then ended abruptly shortly after 9pm Pacific Time. It attracted an audience of over 40,000 at its peak.
Holy shit. Elon Musk just joined a Twitter space chat with a group of journalists. He was called out by journalist Drew Harrell, whom he banned, for lying about posting links to his private information, then left shortly after being pressed. Here is the exchange. pic.twitter.com/wVA9Gb5MVJ
— Bradley Eversley (@ForeverEversley) December 16, 2022
The space session was held shortly after the first poll and the list of participants included journalists from publications such as Mashable (Matt Binder), BuzzFeed News (Katie Notopoulos), NBC News (Ben Collins) and more.
Justifying his decision to ban journalists, Musk claimed that doxing their real-time locations amounted to ‘Planning the murderAnd endangering his family. He reported an incident where a man was mistaken for him and followed by a stalker only to be later blocked and threatened.
Last night, the crazy stalker behind the car carrying Lil X in LA (thinking it was me), who later immobilized the car and climbed on the hood.
Legal action is being taken against Sweeney and the organizations that harmed my family.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 15, 2022
The entire episode also led the microblogging platform to change its rules for all users to stop sharing another person’s current location without their consent first.