Elon Musk Restores Some Suspended Journalists’ Twitter Accounts but Keeps Others in the Dark
The suspensions were put in place after several reporters posted about the platform’s decision to suspend @ElonJet
Elon Musk has reversed suspensions placed on several journalists’ Twitter accounts following the results of a Thursday poll, while others remain in the dark with no clarity on when or if their suspensions will be lifted.
The initial suspensions were put in place after several journalists – including Aaron Rupar, Donnie O’Sullivan of CNN and Drew Harwall of The Washington Post – began reporting on Twitter’s decision to suspend @ElonJet, an account created by 19-year-old University of Central Florida student Jack Sweeney that uses ADS-B exchange data to track Musk’s private jet movements.
Musk claimed in a tweet that the accounts were suspended for posting “my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service.”
“Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” he added.
The poll, which asked users whether he should “unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time” now or in 7 days, received over 3.6 million votes, with 58.7% voting for the social media giant to lift the ban “now” and 41.3% voting “in 7 days.”
“The people have spoken,” Musk said in a follow-up tweet late Friday night. “Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now.”
While Rupar, Harwell and O’Sullivan have been reinstated, MSNBC and ESPN host Keith Olbermann and Business Insider columnist Linette Lopez are among those who remain suspended. Olbermann has been tweeting out from his “dog’s account” @TomJumboGrumbo in the interim.
“THE WEEKEND COUNTDOWN: @LopezLinette and I are among those who remain suspended, without explanation by – or contact from – Twitter,” Olbermann tweeted Saturday morning from that account. “And in reinstating the others Musk still slanders them by lying they ‘doxxed’ his family.”
Lopez, who has investigated Musk and Tesla for years, posted a tweet prior to her suspension sharing a New York Times article entitled “Musk Shakes Up Twitter’s Legal Team as He Looks to Cut More Costs.” The caption read: “Reneging on severance, threatening employees who talk to the press, refusing to pay rent and jet bills, turning over legal staff — this is classic Elon-going-broke behavior.”
In addition to Olbermann and Lopez, Fox Business correspondent Susan Li told anchor Neil Cavuto that she also remains suspended.
CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy noted that Harwell and O’Sullivan were given the option of removing their tweets about @ElonJet before being reinstated or appealing the decision. According to Darcy, both Harwell and O’Sullivan have filed appeals.
“I want to thank everyone for all the support and kind words over the past day and some change,” Rupar tweeted. “I was pretty bummed about getting suspended initially but quickly realized it’d be fine because I’m blessed to have an amazing online community. Seriously, I appreciate it a lot. Cheers.”
BuzzFeed tech reporter Katie Notopoulos, who was banned from Twitter Spaces after hosting a conversation with many of the suspended journalists, has since had that ban rescinded.
United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Volker Türk said that while it is “good news” that journalists’ Twitter accounts were being reinstated, “serious concerns remain.”
“Twitter has a responsibility to respect human rights: @elonmusk should commit to making decision based on publicly-available policies that respect rights, including free speech,” he added. “Nothing less.”