Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter was heralded as a strike for the freedom of speech movement in the United States and across the world. Now, several journalists who have been reporting on Elon Musk since his takeover of the social media platform have found their accounts banned.
Reporters for The New York Times, CNN and Washington Post are among those who found themselves locked out of their accounts on Thursday evening, the BBC have reported, while banned journalists include The Intercept’s Micha Lee, Mashable’s Matt Binder, and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, and Tony Webster.
Twitter has cited the bans stem from a new rule introduced on Wednesday that prohibits "live location information, including information shared on Twitter directly or links to 3rd-party URL(s) of travel routes." - a practice also known as “doxxing.” Musk has recently had issues with one particular Twitter account that has live-tracked the private jet of the Tesla and SpaceX billionaire.
"Without commenting on any specific accounts, I can confirm that we will suspend any accounts that violate our privacy policies and put other users at risk," Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin told The Verge. “We don’t make exceptions to this policy for journalists or any other accounts."
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, whose account was among those suspended, believes the move will have a huge impact on journalists, particularly those who cover Mr Musk’s other companies.
Those journalists haven’t been the only people banned from Twitter this week: Twitter also suspended the official account of Mastodon, which has emerged as an alternative to Twitter since Musk bought it for $44bn in October. Mastodon happens to be the new social media platform one Jack Sweeney is now using; Sweeney happens to be the mastermind behind the @ElonJet Twitter account previously.