Musk ignites firestorm after suspending a handful of journalists from Twitter

Billionaire Elon Musk ignited a firestorm of outrage when a handful of journalists were suspended from Twitter on Thursday over the alleged violation of the company’s new rule prohibiting the sharing of location information.

Among those whose accounts were restricted were Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, technology reporter Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Micah Lee of The Intercept, social media influencer Aaron Rupar, and leftist crank Keith Olbermann.

The new doxing policy was announced by Musk after an account that tracked his private jet was banned and may have been linked to an incident where a “crazy stalker” allegedly terrorized his son with the Tesla/SpaceX CEO tweeting that the balaclava-clad assailant believed that it was him.

Mike Solana, vice president of the San Francisco-based venture capital posted his confirmation that “about half” of the suspended accounts had posted links to the jet tracker, drawing a response from Musk that the “Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else.

“If anyone posted real-time locations & addresses of NYT reporters, FBI would be investigating, there’d be hearings on Capitol Hill & Biden would give speeches about end of democracy!” Musk noted in another tweet as the media gnashed its teeth.

Musk also posted a poll soliciting input from his followers on whether the accounts should be restored immediately or in seven days although he soon modified it to include two other options.

O’Sullivan discussed his suspension with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday’s edition of “Anderson Cooper 360°” where he suggested that it was criticism of Musk that led to the temporary restrictions on the accounts.

(Video: CNN)

“So, what’s basically happened is that just really over the past hour or so, as the number of journalists at national news outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and here at CNN, have been permanently banned it seems, suspended from Twitter. Now, all those journalists, including myself, happen to be people who cover Elon Musk. This is Elon Musk, of course, the free speech activist.”

“Just like when Trump got kicked off, we can post elsewhere,” O’Sullivan said. “I do think this is very important about the potential chilling impact this can have for freelance journalists, independent journalists around the world, particularly journalists who cover Elon Musk’s other companies like Tesla and SpaceX. I think this can have a real chilling factor.”

“Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” Musk tweeted, defending himself from such accusations.

“They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service,” he said in another tweet.

He also defended the suspensions in a Thursday Twitter Spaces chat that was hosted by Buzzfeed’s Katie Notopoulos, responding to questions during his brief appearance where he told reporters that they weren’t special.

“Yeah, so I am sure that for everyone who has been doxxed would agree, sharing real-time information about someone’s location is inappropriate and I think everyone on this call would not like that to be done to them,” the “Chief Twit” said.

“There’s not going to be any distinction in the future between journalists or so-called journalists and regular people,” Musk added. “Everyone’s going to be treated the same.”

“You’re not special because you’re a journalist,” he said. “So no special treatment. You dox, you get suspended. End of story.”

Reporters in general haven’t been bothered one bit when conservatives were booted off of Twitter over the last several years but now that the shoe is on the other foot, they are furious.

It’s also understandable that there would be a temper tantrum over a Musk crackdown on doxing which has been the political left’s most potent weapon when it comes to terrorizing their enemies.

Musk’s actions to restore free speech to the platform and police misbehavior have him firmly atop the establishment left’s enemies list and they already hate him nearly as much as former President Donald J. Trump.


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Chris Donaldson


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