Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of several journalists for allegedly sharing private information related to the whereabouts of its owner - Elon Musk. Following the suspension, the profiles of the journalists and the tweets posted by them disappeared. This included Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, Ryan Mac of The New York Times, and many others
The decision of Twitter to permanently ban accounts of accused journalists for tracking his private jet flights using publicly available data was not well received by people. In a poll conducted by Elon Musk among his followers as to when the ban should be lifted, the results favored uplifting the ban at the earliest.
However, Musk then closed off the vote by saying that it had too many options and that there would be a do-over. As of writing, and after more than 2.2M votes, the new poll also favors immediately unbanning the accounts which have been suspended.
Although the suspended journalists couldn’t access their accounts, they made a backdoor entry through Twitter Spaces, the website's audio discussion platform. There, Musk squared off with Drew Harwell from The Washington Post and justified his action by giving a one-line reply - "You doxx, you get suspended, end of the story." The audio session then ended abruptly shortly after 9 p.m. Pacific Time. It drew more than 40,000 listeners at its peak.
Holy Shit. Elon Musk just popped into a Twitter Spaces chat with a bunch of journalists. He was called out by journalist Drew Harrell, who he banned, for lying about posting links to his private information, then leaves almost immediately after being pressed. Here is the exchange pic.twitter.com/wVA9Gb5MVJ— Bradley Eversley (@ForeverEversley) December 16, 2022
The Spaces session was conducted shortly after the first poll and the list of participants included journalists from publications like Mashable (Matt Binder), BuzzFeed News (Katie Notopoulos), NBC News (Ben Collins) and more.
Justifying his decision to ban journalists, Musk claimed that doxxing his real-time locations was equivalent to 'plotting assassination coordinates' and endangering his family. He reported an incident where a person was mistaken for him and was followed along by a stalker only to be blocked later and threatened.
Last night, car carrying lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving & climbed onto hood.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 15, 2022
Legal action is being taken against Sweeney & organizations who supported harm to my family.
The entire episode also led the micro-blogging platform to change its rules for all users to stop sharing another person’s current location without seeking their consent first.