Twitter suspends journalists covering Musk

San Francisco: Twitter Inc has suspended the accounts of several journalists, including scribes from the New York Times and the Washington Post, with the site showing “account suspended” notices for them.

All the suspended reporters have in recent months written about Twitter’s new owner, billionaire Elon Musk and changes at the platform since he bought it.

Responding to a Tweet on the account suspensions, Musk tweeted: “Same doxxing rules apply to “journalists” as to everyone else,” referring to Twitter rules banning sharing of personal information, called doxxing.

He tweeted: “Criticising me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”

On Thursday, Twitter suspended an account tracking Musk’s private jet in real time, a month after he said his commitment to free speech extended to not banning the account.

The accounts of Times reporter Ryan Mac (@rmac18), Post reporter Drew Harwell (@drewharwell), CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan (@donie), and Mashable reporter Matt Binder @MattBinder were suspended. The account of independent journalist Aaron Rupar (@atrupar), who covers US policy and politics, was also suspended.

A spokesperson for The New York Times said, “Suspension of the Twitter accounts of a number of prominent journalists, including The New York Times’s Ryan Mac, is questionable and unfortunate. Neither The Times nor Ryan has received any explanation about why this occurred. We hope that all of the journalists’ accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for this action.”

The official account of social media company Mastodon (@joinmastodon), which has emerged as an alternative to Twitter since Musk bought the company for $44 billion in October, was also suspended.

Twitter is now leaning heavily on automation to moderate content, doing away with certain manual reviews and favouring restrictions on distribution rather than removing certain speech outright, Twitter’s head of trust and safety Ella Irwin said.

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