Musk reinstates suspended reporters on Twitter amid backlash: NPR
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Amid intense backlash and accusations of violating press freedom, Twitter reinstated the accounts of several journalists who were suspended earlier this week.
On Thursday night, the social media platform suspended several reporters who had tweeted or written about Elon Musk’s ownership of the company.
Accounts that went dark included CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan; Ryan Mac’s The New York Times; Drew Harwell’s the washington post; Micah Lee of The Intercept; and journalist Aaron Rupar.
On Friday night, Musk put a public vote on the decision to reinstate the suspended accounts. The tweeted an informal poll asking Twitter users to choose when to “resume ban accounts that duplicated my exact real-time location.”
According to the poll, 58.7% of voters favored lifting the suspensions immediately versus 41.3% of respondents who said Musk should wait seven more days.
Rupar, whose account was reinstated on Friday, said the suspensions indicated Twitter’s instability.
“It’s a clear illustration that it’s not a rules-based company anymore,” Rupar told NPR. “It’s basically a company based on the whims of Elon Musk and the terms of service depend on his mood each day.”
Joan Donovan, director of research at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics, and Public Policy, believes this week’s wave of suspensions is just the beginning.
“The way Musk is targeting mainstream journalists in particular, I think we’re going to see more of these shenanigans, not less, in the coming months,” he told NPR’s Michel Martin on All things considered.
NPR has reached out to Twitter and Musk, but has not heard back.
It all started with an airplane tracking Twitter account.
Before suspending journalists’ accounts, Musk took issue with several accounts that tracked the movement of private planes used by billionaires, government officials and others.
Musk was particularly concerned about the jet tracking account, @ElonJet, run by a 20-year-old student at the University of Central Florida, which Musk claimed was used by a “crazy stalkerin Los Angeles to follow one of Musk’s sons.
Journalists who tweeted or wrote about Musk’s break with the account were later suspended.
Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” has denied allegations that the suspensions were in retaliation for critical coverage. Instead, he argued that the accounts are a “physical security breach” and can lead to “doxing” or sharing of personal information to encourage stalkers.
“Criticizing myself all day is totally fine, but cheating on my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” Musk tweeted Thursday night.
Musk’s crackdown was condemned by the UN and the EU
Various organizations around the world have criticized Musk’s apparent silencing of high-profile journalists on Twitter.
Melissa Fleming, the United Nations assistant secretary-general for global communications, said she was “deeply disturbed” by the suspensions.
“Freedom of the press is not a toy. A free press is the cornerstone of democratic societies and a key tool in the fight against harmful misinformation,” Fleming tweeted on Friday.
Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission, warned Twitter about the possibility of violating the European Union’s Law on Digital Services and the Law on Media Freedom.
“There are red lines. And sanctions, soon”, Jourová tweeted Friday.
The suspensions have also sparked outrage from several news organizations that are demanding explanations as to why their reporters were temporarily suspended.
“Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be an incredible concern to everyone who uses the platform,” CNN said in a statement. declaration Thursday. “We will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”
For Rupar, while he was initially concerned about how the Twitter ban would negatively affect his career, it turned out to be quite the opposite.
“The consequences for me were quite positive overall,” he said.
In the hours after his suspension, Rupar said he received an outpouring of support and a mass following at his newly created Mastodon account, which you plan to use more often.
“Although I’m back on Twitter, in light of this experience, it seems like a good time to spend more energy developing a following elsewhere,” Rupar said.