Twitter just banned prominent journalists who cover Elon Musk without warning
On Thursday evening, Twitter suspended a number of prominent journalists from the platform without warning or explanation.
The situation follows the company’s decision to suspend the Twitter account of Mastodon, an open-source social media alternative that has gained momentum since Elon Musk took over the company. Twitter took action against Mastodon after the account linked to @ElonJet’s Mastodon page, a student-created bot that tracks the whereabouts of Musk’s private jet.
At least some of the suspended accounts had shared screenshots and observations about Mastodon’s suspension. Just before his suspension, Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell tweeted that Mastodon had been kicked off the platform.
Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Mashable’s Matt Binder and journalist Aaron Rupar were also suspended Thursday night. Many journalists have regularly covered Musk’s takeover of Twitter in recent months.
Rupar weighed in on his suspension on Substack, observing that while he didn’t know why his account was deactivated, he had shared a link to ElonJet’s Facebook account during his reporting on the matter. Via another account, Mac shared the message he received from Twitter and noted that there was no warning before the permanent suspension.
Some of the suspended accounts shared the Twitter handles of Mastodon and ElonJet as well as images of the tweet which appears to have caused the old account to be suspended.
In light of Twitter’s scaled-down human moderation teams, it’s possible the automated systems enforcing Twitter’s brand new rules against accounts like @ElonJet were overzealous in this instance. But it’s at least as likely that this is a case of Musk directing the moderation process based on his own preferences – we just won’t know until someone on Twitter explains. what is happening.
Update: Musk just weighed in on the suspensions, calling them intentional. “The same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as everyone else,” he tweeted in a response.
In a response, Musk said the suspensions would only last seven days. he later tweeted a poll asking its Twitter followers to decide the fate of banned journalists, who had been previously informed that the account suspension was “permanent”.
TechCrunch reached out to Twitter’s new chief trust and safety officer, Ella Irwin, to explain why accounts weren’t given the opportunity to remove the offending tweets, which is standard practice for many offenses on Twitter. It should be noted that the policy violated by these accounts, a ban on share “live location information”, only 24 hours old.
This story develops…