Twitter bans some journalists who cover Elon Musk.
Reporters from The New York Times, CNN and the Washington Post are among those who discovered themselves shut out of account on Thursday night.
A Twitter spokesperson told the tech site The Verge that the ban was due to the sharing of live data about location.
The incident comes after Mr. Musk promised to sue the proprietor of the profile which tracks his plane.
The list of journalists banned include the Intercept’s Micha Lee, Mashable’s Matt Binder, and independent reporters Aaron Rupar and Tony Webster.
A spokesperson from The New York Times called the suspensions “questionable and regrettable” and stated that neither the newspaper nor the reporter Ryan Mac received any explanation to justify the suspension.
CNN stated that the “impulsive and inexplicably suspended suspension of a variety of journalists… was a source of concern but not shocking”. CNN has requested Twitter to provide an explanation, and will “re-evaluate the relationship we have with Twitter based on the reaction”.
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, whose account was one of the ones removed, said the decision was significant due to “the possible chilling effect” it could have on journalists, specifically those who report on Musk’s other businesses.
After he had completed his purchase of the social media website in October, Musk made a statement to potential advertisers via an Instagram post where he discussed purchasing Twitter in order to “try to assist humanity” and stated that he would like “civilization to have a virtual town square”.
Twitter bans some journalists who cover Elon Musk https://t.co/WtTh9q6ulI
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) December 16, 2022
Musk has not yet commented on the suspensions. Musk has not made any comment directly about the suspensions however, he tweeted that “criticizing me throughout the day is fine, but shaming me about my location in real time and risking my family’s safety isn’t”.
He also said that accounts involved in doxxing, a term that refers to the publication of personal information of individuals online, are subject to a temporary seven-day suspension.
“Same guidelines for doxxing apply to journalists just like everybody else” the tweeter wrote. “They tweeted my exact actual time location, which is basically assassination coordinates in (obvious) explicit violation of Twitter conditions of service.”
He said: “If anyone posted real-time locations and addresses of NYT reporters and NYT reporters, the FBI will investigate and there would be hearings about Capitol Hill & Biden would make speeches about the end of the democratic process!”
The technology tycoon put up a poll asking whether he should suspend these accounts “now” instead of “in 7 days” and it is possible that the decision may be reversed earlier and not later.
Twitter’s chief of security and trust, Ella Irwin, told The Verge that bans are connected to a new policy announced on Wednesday, which prohibits “live information about locations, which includes information that is shared via Twitter directly, or links to third-party URL(s) for travel destinations.”
“Without commenting on any particular account, I can assure you that we will close any accounts that are in breach of our privacy rules and put the other account users in danger,” the woman Irwin told the publication.
“We aren’t making an exception to this policy for journalists or other accounts.”
Mr. Musk has since spoken to journalists via Twitter Spaces, part of the social media application that lets the live streaming of audio calls.
The appearance drew an audience of 30,000 , but after he answered a few questions regarding the ban, he quit the stage. Twitter Spaces itself has since been suspended.
The following day, Twitter removed the Twitter account of @ElonJet and other accounts that use publicly accessible information to trace the private aircraft of his.
The person who owns @ElonJet, Jack Sweeney, 20, was also able to have his personal account shut down. Mr. Musk has now pledged to bring the legal route against his and “organizations that facilitated the harm my family suffered”.
Mr. Musk claimed that the “crazy stalker” was using live tracking to locate and then accost a vehicle with kids located in Los Angeles.
Twitter has also banned Mastodon’s official Twitter account. Mastodon was created as a potential alternative to Twitter since the late Mr Musk purchased it for $44 billion in October.
It was reported that Mastodon had used Twitter to announce Mr. Sweeney’s new Twitter account on Thursday, as reported by The New York Times.
Links to individual Mastodon accounts appeared to be blocked. A message of error alerted people that the links for Mastodon were “identified” by Twitter as “potentially dangerous” from Twitter and its affiliates.