Elon Musk’s Twitter has banned several well-known journalists without giving any explanation

Elon Musk's Twitter has banned several well-known journalists without giving any explanation
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New York

Twitter on Thursday evening banned the accounts of several high-profile journalists from top news organizations without explanation, apparently marking a significant attempt by new owner Elon Musk to exercise unilateral authority over the platform.

The accounts of CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and other journalists who have aggressively covered Musk in recent weeks were suddenly permanently suspended. The account of progressive independent journalist Aaron Rupar was also banned.

Neither Musk nor Twitter responded to a request for comment Thursday evening. The platform did not explain exactly why the journalists were exiled from the platform.

The bans have raised a number of questions about the future of the so-called digital city square platform. He also questioned Musk’s commitment to free speech.

Musk has repeatedly said he wants to allow all legitimate speech on the platform; On the day he announced his acquisition of Twitter in April, he tweeted: “I hope even my worst critics stay on Twitter because it means free speech.”

“Elon says he’s a free speech advocate and bans journalists for practicing free speech. I think it calls into question his commitment,” Harwell told CNN on Thursday. Rupar also said he had heard “nothing” from Twitter about the ban.

A CNN spokeswoman said the company had asked Twitter for an explanation and that it would “re-evaluate our relationship based on that response.”

“The impulsive and unjustified firing of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is troubling but not surprising. Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be incredibly concerning to anyone who uses Twitter,” the spokesperson said.

A New York Times spokesperson called the mass ban “suspicious and unfortunate,” adding: “Neither The Times nor Ryan have received an explanation as to why this happened. We hope that all of the journalists’ accounts will be reinstated and that Twitter will provide a satisfactory explanation for this action.” will give.”

The suspensions come after Twitter also suspended an account belonging to new competitor Mastodon on Thursday.

After the billionaire banned @ElonJet on Twitter on Wednesday, the Mastodon account tweeted that people could follow the @ElonJet account on its platform, which tracks Musk’s private jet.

This tweet is likely the one that violates Twitter’s rules. To save Twitter from @ElonJet, Musk introduced new policies that ban accounts that follow people’s live locations.

Musk also blocked any account from accessing such information, just as Mastodon did by linking to an account on his platform.

The move comes after Musk reinstated previous Twitter violators and stopped enforcing the platform’s policies banning Covid-19 misinformation.

Several of the journalists banned Thursday covered the Mastodon account ban, highlighting the irony of Musk’s self-proclaimed mission to advance free speech.

“Free speech is the second richest man in the world threatening to sue a 20-year-old college student for sharing public information he doesn’t like,” Harwell tweeted, referring to Jack Sweeney, before his account was deleted. College student piloting @ElonJet.

CNN’s O’Sullivan also covered the story, interviewing Sweeney and his grandmother about the matter.

“I think it’s very important for the potential chilling effect on independent journalists, independent journalists around the world, especially those covering Elon Musk’s other companies like Tesla and SpaceX,” O’Sullivan told CNN Thursday after the suspension.

As furor grew over the account suspension, some Twitter users reported that the platform began interfering when they attempted to post links to their profiles on alternative social networks, including Mastodon.

The news was confirmed Thursday evening by a CNN reporter who was blocked from sharing the URL of Mastodon’s profile and received an automated error message from Twitter or its partners identifying the site as “potentially malicious.”

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