Twitter Suspends Reporters Who Were Reporting on Elon Musk And Business

On Thursday night, Twitter banned a number of prominent journalists who had been reporting on Elon Musk and Tesla. The accounts were “permanently suspended,” according to some texts, but Musk stated they would be off for only a week.

Twitter’s new rules regarding accounts that follow private jets, like Elon Musk‘s, led to the suspensions yesterday. As of Thursday night, the accounts of New York Times reporter Ryan Mac, CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell, Mashable’s Matt Binder, The Intercept’s Micah Lee, Voice of America’s Steve Herman, and freelance journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann, and Tony Webster were all suspended.

Mastodon, which positions itself as an alternative to Twitter, had its Twitter account temporarily disabled on Thursday evening. Journalists from NBC News were unable to post links to Mastodon pages on their personal Twitter accounts. The Mastodon social network, however, was a Twitter trend.

As a response to a tweet from Mike Solana, vice president of startup capital firm Founders Fund, who pointed out that the suspended accounts had posted links to jet trackers on other websites, Musk stated that the bans stemmed from the platform’s new regulations banning private jet trackers.

Twitter Suspends Reporters Who Have Been Reporting Elon Musk And the Business
Twitter Suspends Reporters Who Have Been Reporting Elon Musk And the Business

As he said in a subsequent tweet, “criticising me all day long is absolutely fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.” After the accounts were suspended on Thursday, Musk claimed that they had shared “my exact real-time position, effectively assassination coordinates, in (apparent) flagrant violation of Twitter terms of service.”

NBC News was unable to independently confirm this claim. A weeklong ban was added by Musk subsequently. Musk stated immediately after assuming Twitter control in early November that he would not be blocking the account that had been tracking his plane.

Lee said via text message that he was suspended for trying to tweet a link to the Mastodon account that monitored Musk’s plane but was unsuccessful and instead tweeted a screenshot. In a post on Substack, Rupar said his account had been permanently suspended but gave no other details.

There has been no response from Twitter,” he wrote. On Wednesday he tweeted a link to a Facebook page that followed Musk’s plane, he said. Binder, a tech reporter for Mashable, claimed he was fired for sharing a screenshot of an LAPD statement taken from the Twitter account of CNN reporter O’Sullivan, who was also fired.

In 2008, I started using it. Binder boasted, “I’ve never even gotten a smack on the wrist for being a rule-follower.” To paraphrase, “It’s not hard to do when you know what the rules are.” Binder claims he received a message from his account informing him of a permanent ban.

To quote Binder: “This is the precise stuff that he’s chastised the prior Twitter of doing.” — Elon Musk. Binder did seem to find a way around the Twitter ban by participating in a Thursday night audio chat on Twitter Spaces with other journalists. In time, Harwell signed on as well.

It was a joke on Binder’s part, but he really was breaching the law in ways nobody else had before. On Thursday, O’Sullivan said that the other suspended journalists were all covering Musk. According to O’Sullivan of CNN, “Musk seems to be just stamping out accounts that he doesn’t like, as we saw with the jet tracker last night.”

The network’s official line is that the suspensions were “impulsive and unwarranted,” which isn’t exactly shocking. According to a statement released by the platform, “Twitter’s rising instability and volatility should be of enormous concern for everyone who uses Twitter.”

We have reached out to Twitter for clarification, and our next steps will depend on the company’s response. Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee remarked that Twitter’s suspension of Harwell “clearly undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he wishes to manage Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.”

As Buzbee put it in a statement released late Thursday, the journalist “was exiled from Twitter without warning, process, or explanation, following the publication of his correct reporting against Musk,” and he should be reinstated immediately.

No explanation was given to Mac or the news organization, according to a representative from The New York Times, who termed the suspensions suspicious and sad. The Democratic congresswoman for Massachusetts, Lori Trahan, tweeted on Thursday that she had spoken with Twitter representatives who assured her that the business will not take action against journalists who criticize the platform.

There have been repeated suspensions of technology reporters in less than a day. So, what gives, @elonmusk? Trahan included. As a result of these suspensions, Musk has reneged on his pledge to run Twitter as a free speech absolutist, restoring accounts linked with the QAnon movement and other far-right organizations while banning others.

To silence internal opposition to his policies, he has fired those who held them. Twitter has had a turbulent few days, what with the initial suspension of the account that monitored Musk’s jet and now these suspensions. On Tuesday, Musk claimed a “stalker” confronted a car carrying his child in Los Angeles.

Twitter Suspends Reporters Who Have Been Reporting Elon Musk And the Business
Twitter Suspends Reporters Who Have Been Reporting Elon Musk And the Business

Its developer, Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old college student from Florida, appeared to threaten legal action against Musk. Musk did not present any evidence that Sweeney or his account were involved. He didn’t specify when or where in the vast metropolis this alleged crime took place.

Sweeney told NBC News on Wednesday that he has not been notified of any legal action and that the last time his bot tweeted was on December 12 (which was not yesterday night), so he does not understand the connection.

No reports were filed, according to the Los Angeles Police Department on Thursday. The Los Angeles Police Department’s Threat Management Unit is in touch with Elon Musk’s representatives and security team and is aware of the current situation and tweet.

Officer Lizeth Loeni, the police department’s public information officer, stated in a statement on Thursday night that no allegations of criminal activity had been received. The greater Los Angeles area is covered by multiple law enforcement agencies.

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