Elon Musk, Free Speech Warrior, Went on a Twitter Banning Spree
Last night, Elon Musk sent Twitter on what may be its final death spiral, banning several high-profile journalists, preventing users from sharing their Mastodon accounts, and storming out of a Twitter Space discussion when he was called out for his hypocritical behavior.
It started around 8PM Eastern Time, when Irish Journalist Donie O’Sullivan reported that despite Musk’s claims that a stalker had used his private jet’s flight data to chase down his son, no police report had been filed with the Los Angeles Police Department. Mashable author Matt Binder retweeted a quote from O’Sullivan, and O’Sullivan’s account was promptly suspended. When Binder commented on the suspension, his account was suspended, too. Both accounts were suspended for “violating Twitter rules,” but neither journalists received any explanation of which rules they’d broken.
After that, there was a cascade of suspensions, with journalists Keith Olbermann, Aaron Rupar, Drew Harwell, and others finding their accounts mysteriously shut down.
At the same time, multiple users found that Twitter was preventing them from posting links to their Mastadon.social accounts. When they tried to tweet links to their Mastodon profiles, they received an error message. Users found that even clicking on an existing link to Mastodon resulted in an error message warning that the link was “unsafe.”
Soon, the Twitter account for Mastodon itself was suspended, too.
Later that evening, Buzzfeed writer Katie Notopoulos hosted a Twitter Space for journalists to talk about what was happening. Matt Binder found that he was able to join the space, despite his account’s suspension. Musk himself joined the conversation, claiming that O’Sullivan, Binder, and presumably other suspended journalists had “doxxed” him by linking to ElonJet, a (now banned) account that posted the flight paths of his private jet. Doxxing refers to publishing someone’s home address and contact information—not reporting on publicly available data like flight paths.
“There’s not going to be any distinction in the future between journalists, ethical journalists, and regular people,” Musk told the journalists in the space. “Everyone’s going to be treated the same. You’re not special because you’re a journalist … You’re a citizen. No special treatment. You dox, you get suspended. End of story.”
When Notopoulos pointed out that Binder, Ryan Mac, and other journalists had been doing basic reporting on a public situation, Musk responded with, “You post a link to real-time information? Ban evasion. Obviously.”
When Drew told Musk no journalist had doxxed him, and reminded Musk that he himself had criticized the banning of accounts whose viewpoints Twitter decision-makers didn’t like, Musk left the space.
Musk then stayed up late into the night, insisting again and again that the banned journalists had posted his real-time location and address, and accusing them of sharing “assassination coordinates.” There’s no evidence that his claims are true.
(featured image: Gotham / FilmMagic)
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