Elon Musk’s Twitter Bans Journalists Who Criticized Him

Twitter owned by Billionaire Elon Musk, also self-proclaimed free speech advocate, started banning a spate of notable journalists on Thursday.

The platform was removed from New York Times writer Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, Mashable’s Matt Binder, CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, The Intercept’s Micah Lee, political commentator Keith Olbermann, independent journalist Aaron Rupar, and freelance journalist Tony Webster.

Musk imposed a “7-day suspension for doxxing” in response to Rebecca Mansour’s concerns about the suspensions. Later that night, he issued a Twitter poll asking users to vote on the terms of the ban.

Musk claimed the bans were imposed to protect his “family.” He further stated in a separate tweet, “They broadcast my actual real-time position, practically assassination coordinates, in (apparent) flagrant violation of Twitter rules of service.” There is no proof that the journalists put Musk or his family in danger.

The journalists, on the other hand, have a similar thread of negative coverage of Musk and his management and policy decisions since his take over on Twitter in October, including a recent dispute over Twitter shutting down an account that tracked Musk’s private jet. Musk issued a retroactive amendment to Twitter’s content moderation policy, stating that any instances of sharing real-time location data would be viewed as doxxing and result in account termination.

Musk attempted to link aircraft tracking data developer Jack Sweeney’s product to an event in which he alleges a man trailed a car carrying his son. There is no evidence that the individual was motivated or obtained information from Sweeney’s account. Nonetheless, Musk threatened him with legal action.

They broadcast my exact real-time position, which is essentially assassination coordinates, in (apparent) flagrant violation of Twitter terms of service, according to a tweet from Musk earlier in the evening. The ElonJet account in the links he took issue with automatically disseminates information on Musk’s private jet’s flight path that is available to the general public. 

Climate activists commonly utilize accounts like ElonJet to highlight the severe environmental impact that private jets have. CelebJet and RUOligarchJets have also been suspended. Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Elon Musk have all faced criticism this year for utilizing aircraft when more environmentally friendly alternatives might be employed.

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