Elon Musk bans critical journalists on Twitter

Several high-profile reporters have been suspended for sharing tweets about owner’s private jet flights

Elon Musk
Musk later claimed on Twitter that the accounts were suspended for doxxing
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Elon Musk, the billionaire who bought Twitter in a $44bn deal this October, has banned a number of high-profile journalists from the social media platform.

Among those suspended are journalists from CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Many of the reporters in question have in the past been critical of Musk and his management of Twitter.

Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, accused the reporters of tweeting “assassination coordinates” for himself and his family. The claim, which The Washington Post says it “has seen no evidence of”, appears to relate to some of the now-banned journalists retweeting another banned account, @ElonJet.

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The account had been using publicly available flight data to document journeys taken by Musk’s private jet in a bid to hold him accountable for carbon emissions.

Musk, who has vowed to sue the owner of the flight tracking account, appeared to later clarify on Twitter that the accounts had been suspended for “doxxing” – when someone reveals the personal details of someone else online. “Criticising me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” said Musk.

Senior Vox correspondent Shirin Ghaffary suggested the recent purge “seems to contradict Musk’s stated commitment to protecting freedom of speech on Twitter”. CNN agreed, describing the suspensions as “a significant attempt by new owner Elon Musk to wield his unilateral authority over the platform”.

However, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, said the company would suspend “any accounts that violate our privacy policies”, and that “we don’t make exceptions to this policy for journalists”.

The Guardian reported that some of the journalists believed their accounts had been permanently suspended. However, “in multiple tweets Musk said the suspensions would be for only seven days”, the paper added.

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