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Calling Out Right-Wing Media Is Apparently a Bannable Offense on Elon Musk’s Twitter

Elon Musk looks over the shoulder at the camera with a smug sort of smile, wearing a tuxedo at the Met Gala

Yesterday, Andrew Lawrence, writer for the left-wing site Media Matters, was briefly suspended from Twitter for posting “spam.” According to NBC reporter Ben Collins, Twitter didn’t specify what Lawrence had posted that counted as spam, and on the day of the suspension, Lawrence’s only posts were criticisms of Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk and Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. Lawrence’s account has since been reinstated, also with no explanation.

Lawrence’s first post before the suspension was a tweet pointing out that Musk has yet to make good on his promise to unveil a Tesla’s completed humanoid robot. Musk is currently claiming that his company Neuralink will start implanting microchips in the brains of humans within six months.

Lawrence’s second post before the suspension was a tweet criticizing Tucker Carlson, after Carlson falsely claimed that the National Hockey League is discouraging white people from playing hockey.

As of this writing, there’s still no word on why Lawrence’s account was suspended. Did Musk take personal offense at the criticism? Was Lawrence reported by right-wing Twitter users? After his account was reinstated, Lawrence pointed out that many smaller left-wing accounts are also being suspended, but their creators don’t have the reach that Lawrence does.

In the ensuing discussion on Twitter, Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent pointed out that economist Dean Baker, who has also criticized Elon Musk, also had his account suspended with no explanation. Baker recently wrote a piece for Counterpunch called “OMG, a Right-Wing Jerk Can Buy Twitter! Media Concentration Matters.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that hate speech has surged on Twitter ever since Musk took over, with attacks on Black Americans, LGBTQ+ people, Jews, and other groups spiking while white supremacists and other fascists put together lists of left-wing accounts to target for suspension. Soon after he took control of the company, Musk gutted Twitter’s moderation team and reinstated Donald Trump’s account, claiming that Twitter was now devoted to “free speech.”

(featured image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. She lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and makes yarn on her spinning wheel. You can check out more of her writing at https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.