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Twitter Suspends Several Journalists, Musk Cites 'Doxxing' Of His Jet





PARIS, France - Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of several prominent journalists who recently wrote about its new owner Elon Musk, with the billionaire tweeting that rules banning the publishing of personal information applied to all, including journalists.


Responding to a Tweet on the account suspension, Musk, who has described himself as a free speech absolutist, tweeted: ''Same doxxing rules apply to ''journalists'' as to everyone else'', a reference to Twitter rules banning the sharing personal information, called doxxing.


Musk's tweet referred to Twitter's Wednesday suspension of @elonjet, an account tracking his private jet in real time using date available in the public domain. Musk had threatened legal action against the account's operator, saying his son had been mistakenly followed be a ''crazy stalker".


It was unclear if all the journalists whose accounts were suspended had commented on or shared news about @elonjet.


,,Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not'', Musk tweeted on Thursday.


He had tweeted last month that his commitment to free speech extended ''even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk''.


He tweeted on Thursday that there would be a seven-day suspension for doxxing, following that up with a poll asking Twitter users to vote on when to reinstate the doxxed accounts.


He then said he had offered too many option on the poll and would redo it, after results showed that some 43% voted for reinstating the accounts ''now'' - the largest share for any option.


Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The suspension echo chaotic action at Twitter since Musk took over, including firings of top management and thousands of employees, seesawing on how much to charge for Twitter's subscription service Twitter Blue, and reinstating banned accounts, including that of former President Donald Trump.


Twitter now leans heavily on automation to moderate content, doing away with certain manual reviews and favoring restriction on distribution rather than moving certain speech outright, its new head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, told Reuters this month.


Among the journalist accounts suspended on Thursday was that of Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell (@drewharwell), who wrote on the social media platform Mastodon that he had recently written about Musk and posted links to ''publicly available, legally acquired data''.


Twitter also suspended the official account of Mastodon (@joinmastodon), which has emerged as an alternative to Twitter. Mastodon could not immediately be reached for comment.


Sally Buzbee, the Post's executive editor, said Harwell's suspension undermined Musk's claims that he intended to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.



Twitter updated its policy on Wednesday prohibiting the sharing of ''live location information''.


The accounts of Times reporter Ryan Mac (@rmac18), CNN reporter Donie O'Sullvian (@donie), and Mashable reporter Matt Binder (@MattBinder were also suspended, as that of independent journalist Aaron Rupar (@atrupar), who covers U.S. policy and politics.


A spokesperson for The New York Times called the suspension ''questionable and unfortunate. Neither The Times nor Ryan have received any explanation about why this occured. We hope that journalists' accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for this action''.


CNN said it had asked Twitter for an explanation on the suspension and would reevaluate its relationship with the platform based on that response.

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