Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of journalists who cover the social media platform and its new owner Elon Musk, including reporters working for The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and other publications.
The company hasn’t explained why it took down the accounts and made their profiles and past tweets disappear.
The sudden suspension of news reporters followed Musk’s decision Wednesday to permanently ban an account that automatically tracked the flights of his private jet using publicly available data. It came despite a pledge by Musk to keep the account up because of his free speech principles.
Twitter also on Wednesday changed its rules to prohibit the sharing of another person’s current location without their consent.
Several of the reporters suspended Thursday night had been writing about that new policy and Musk’s rationale for imposing it, which involved his allegations about a stalking incident that affected his family on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
“Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” Musk tweeted Thursday.
“Doxxing” refers to disclosing online someone’s identity, address, or other personal details.
CNN said in a statement that “the impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising.”
“Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses Twitter,” CNN’s statement added. “We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”
Musk last month reinstated several previously banned accounts, including those of former President Donald Trump, musician Kanye West and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
This also comes as Musk has, over the past few weeks, overseen the release of what he has called the “Twitter Files,” which he claims show that the company suppressed free speech prior to his taking over as owner in October. The files consist of thousands of internal company documents which detail content moderation decisions.
Musk has so far utilized three journalists to curate the release of the files: Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss and Michael Shellenberger.
In a Dec. 2 tweet, Musk wrote regarding the Twitter Files in response to criticism from some users: “Twitter acting by itself to suppress free speech is not a 1st amendment violation, but acting under orders from the government to suppress free speech, with no judicial review, is.”
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