Twitter has taken aim at prominent journalists.
According to CNN, the social media platform has suspended the accounts of well-known reporters who have provided critical coverage of the company and its new CEO Elon Musk. The removals reportedly took place on Thursday afternoon, shortly after Twitter banned the account of Jack Sweeney, a Florida college student who used publicly available flight data to track Musk’s private jet.
The reporters who were suspended include the New York Times’ Ryan Mac, the Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, the Intercept’s Micah Flee, Mashable’s Matt Binder, CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, independent journalist Aaron Rupar, and political commentator/former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann.
NBC News reporter Ben Collins has compiled a list of reporters who were affected by the purge.
TechDirt points out that some of the figures tweeted about the Sweeney controversy shortly before they were suspended.
“I have not received any communications from Twitter whatsoever, other than a notice at the top of my feed that I am permanently banned and in read-only mode,” Rupar told the Verge via email. “I have no idea what could have prompted this.”
Twitter also suspended the account of Mastodon, a rival platform that recently tweeted a link to Sweeney’s new jet-tracking account.
In a series of tweets late Thursday, Musk said “criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” and stated the “same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else.” He complained that posting his location is “basically assassination coordinates.”
He also hosted a poll asking when to “unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time,” which saw 47.5 percent vote “now” or “tomorrow,” and 52.5 percent vote “7 days from now” or “longer.” He replied to his poll with, If anyone posted real-time locations & addresses of NYT reporters, FBI would be investigating, there’d be hearings on Capitol Hill & Biden would give speeches about end of democracy!”
He then wrote, “Sorry, too many options. Will redo poll.” The new variation offers two options: reinstate the accounts now (chosen by 58.6 percent of the nearly 2.9 million voters as of noon on Friday) or in seven days, which stands at 41.4 percent.