“They have published my exact location in real time – basically, murder coordinates – in an (obvious) violation of Twitter’s terms of service,” Elon Musk justified the decision.
Twitter suspended the accounts of several journalists on Thursday for alleged violation of the rules of the social network, reports NBC News.
The list of blocked accounts includes Ryan Mac (The New York Times), Donny O’Sullivan (CNN), Drew Harwell, (The Washington Post), Matt Binder (Mashable), Micah Lee (The Intercept), Steve Herman ( Voice of America) and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann and Tony Webster. Also, Mastodon account was suspendeda platform announced as an alternative to Twitter created after the purchase of the social network by Elon Musk.
The suspended accounts “have posted my exact location in real time —basically, murder coordinates—, in an (obvious) violation of Twitter’s terms of service,” Musk justified the decision.
The news comes a day after the blocking of ElonJet, an account that tracked the location of the personal plane of the mogul, who assured that “the same rules of ‘doxing’ apply [difusion de informacion privada en Internet] to the ‘journalists’ than to the others”.
This change to Twitter’s policies was confirmed to The Verge by Ella Irwin, the platform’s head of Trust and Security.
“Any account that posts information about someone’s real-time location will be suspended“, answered Musk to criticism of his decision, noting that this type of follow-up puts his family in danger. The businessman too accurate that the suspension will last seven days.
“You post the location of another in real time: you are suspended. End of story”
The head of the platform joined a Twitter Spaces audio chat shortly afterwards, where he explained that the owners of the blocked accounts had tried to “bypass the block”: once ElonJet was suspended, its owner created accounts on platforms like Mastodon or Facebook (belonging to Meta, classified in Russia as an extremist organization), and journalists shared links to those accounts.
News outlets whose employees were furloughed were outraged by Twitter’s move. Thus, CNN labeled the blockade as “impulsive and unwarranted” and asked the company for explanations. For his part, a spokesman for The New York Times described the suspension of journalists as “questionable and regrettable” and stated that the outlet hopes that “the accounts of all journalists will be restored and that Twitter will give a satisfactory explanation of this action.”
In addition, when questioned in the Twitter Spaces chat about whether these measures did not represent the same thing as the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story by the former heads of the platform, Musk limited himself to responding: “You do ‘dox’: you are suspended. End of story”.
Given the numerous criticisms received, the billionaire wrote in a Tweet: “It’s totally okay to criticize myself all day, but it’s not okay to post my real-time location and put my family in danger.”
Hours later, Musk launched a poll on his profile asking if the suspension should be turned off for accounts that posted that data.
Unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2022