Twitter Reinstates Suspended Accounts of Several Journalists
Elon Musk said Twitter was reinstating the accounts of several journalists whose accounts were suspended after he had accused them of violating the social media platform’s rules on personal privacy.
Mr. Musk reinstated most of the accounts, which had been deactivated on Thursday, after a majority of respondents in his informal Twitter survey voted that the suspensions should be lifted immediately.
On Thursday evening, Twitter suspended the accounts of several high-profile journalists who had written about Mr. Musk’s ownership of the company, including Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Ryan Mac of The New York Times and Drew Harwell of The Washington Post.
Some of the journalists had written about Mr. Musk’s earlier suspension of an account that tracked the whereabouts of his private plane using publicly available flight data, @ElonJet.
In a heated Twitter audio session with journalists on Thursday, Mr. Musk seemed to equate linking to the @ElonJet account in those articles with publishing intrusive real-time location information, or “doxxing.”Some of the people whose accounts were suspended had also written articles critical of Mr. Musk’s stewardship of Twitter.
After the suspensions, Mr. Musk asked Twitter users when the accounts should be reinstated. Roughly 59 percent of the 3.7 million who voted said that the users should be reinstated immediately.
Mr. Musk acknowledged those results in a post on Friday around midnight, saying “The people have spoken.”
By the early hours of Saturday, most of the accounts had been reinstated. But the @ElonJet account was still suspended, as was the account of Keith Olbermann, a former MSNBC and ESPN host, and that of Linette Lopez, a Business Insider columnist whose work covering Mr. Musk’s businesses in recent years had included documenting alleged manufacturing issues at Tesla.
The suspensions had alarmed free speech advocates and prompted threats of sanctions from European regulators.
Jodie Ginsberg, president of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said that if the suspensions were a form of retaliation for the journalists’ work, “this would be a serious violation of journalists’ right to report the news without fear of reprisal.”
“News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying,” tweeted Vera Jourova, a vice president of the European Commission, adding that the move violated the European Union digital and media freedom legislation. “There are red lines. And sanctions, soon.”
Mr. Musk, who has repeatedly espoused his commitment to free speech, firmly rejected those criticisms, arguing that what he had done was no different than actions taken by Twitter’s previous owners to restrict certain posts about Covid and presidential politics that the platform had deemed misinformation.