Elon Musk lifted the journalists’ suspension on Twitter after poll results called for their return
Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced that he lifted the suspension of journalists who allegedly violated the platform’s “doxxing” policy following the results of a survey he conducted among Twitter users.
“People have spoken. Accounts that have exposed my location will now be lifted,” Musk wrote on Twitter late Friday night.
Musk ran a 24-hour survey asking if accounts should be restored “now” or “within 7 days.” Twitter users overwhelmingly voted “now” by splitting 59 to 41 points. Almost 3.7 million Twitter users answered the survey.
This followed a separate poll Musk conducted on Thursday in which “now” also led ahead of “tomorrow,” “in 7 days” and “for a while longer,” but Musk concluded that the poll had “too many options.”
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Dubbed the “Thursday Night Massacre,” prominent media journalists including CNN correspondent Donnie O’Sullivan, The New York Times Technology reporter Ryan Mack and Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell were told out of the blue that they had been “permanently suspended.”
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Others affected include The Intercept journalist Micah Lee, Voice of America correspondent Steve Hermann, Mashable writer Matt Bender, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, and former Vox journalist Aaron Robar.
The controversy began with a comment by @ElonJet, an account that exclusively tracks Musk’s private jet use. Musk claimed the account was suspended for “violating physical integrity” because it was “doing real-time location information,” sharing video of a “crazy stalker” who was harassing his child in Los Angeles thinking the Twitter owner was there. Musk threatened legal action against the account user.
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On Wednesday, Musk warned Twitter users, “Any account that extracts real-time location information from anyone will be suspended, as it is a violation of physical integrity. This includes posting links to sites containing real-time location information.”
Users who were kicked off Twitter on Thursday had reported @ElonJet’s comment or posted links to track the private jet on their Twitter accounts.
Critics panned Musk’s actions, with many criticizing the premise of his allegations of “doxxing” because his use of the private jet is public information while others accused him of hypocrisy because the billionaire described himself as an “absolute free speech” during his Twitter takeover.
CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post all issued statements denouncing the “hasty and unwarranted” decision and calling for their reporters to be reinstated on Twitter.
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Some have defended Musk, saying that journalists have broken the rules. Others enjoyed the comment, saying those who chastised the censorship champion were silent when Twitter took action against others before Musk such as the New York Post during the 2020 presidential election for its reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop story.
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