Musk reinstates suspended journalists after Twitter poll

Several high-profile journalists who were suspended from Twitter on Thursday evening were reinstated early Saturday.

"The people have spoken," Elon Musk tweeted.

Twitter users voted in a poll posted by Musk to reinstate the accounts, which were cut off without warning. The social media platform's new owner has recently used Twitter polls for several high-profile decisions including the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s account.

The accounts of Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, Matt Binder of Mashable, Micah Lee of The Intercept, Steve Herman of Voice of America and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann and Tony Webster were all suspended Thursday evening.

Musk had said the Thursday suspensions would last seven days, but early Saturday said that the “accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now.”

"Matt Binder is back," the Mashable journalist tweeted early Saturday.

Olbermann's account was reinstated later Saturday.

Linette Lopez, a Business Insider columnist whose biography on the news site states she conducts investigations into “controversial companies — most recently Tesla”, was among the suspended journalists. She told MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Tonight that Twitter hadn’t told her why she was suspended. Her account remained suspended Saturday night.

As some of the reporters resumed tweeting, another journalist who was not part of the initial wave was suspended Saturday night.

Taylor Lorenz, a Washington Post tech and online culture columnist, said she was tweeting at Musk seeking comment for an article about an alleged stalking incident when her account was suspended.

Lorenz said she found Musk's actions "worrying."

"Cancel culture has gone too far," she said. "I think the way that musk is arbitrarily banning anyone who he personally doesn’t like has dangerous consequences for free speech."

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Musk has accused the journalists suspended Thursday of sharing private information about his whereabouts, which he described as “basically assassination coordinates.” NBC News was unable to verify that allegation.

“You doxx, you get suspended. End of story. That’s it,” Musk said Thursday night in a Twitter Space audio discussion, explaining his latest policy to more than 30,000 listeners.

He was referring to Twitter’s latest rule change about accounts that track private jets, including one owned by Musk, which was introduced Wednesday.

Several of the suspended reporters had been writing about the new policy and Musk’s rationale for imposing it, which involved his allegations about a stalking incident he said affected his family Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

He tweeted Wednesday that a car one of his children was in was followed and blocked from moving by a driver, who Musk said got on top of the hood of the car with his child in it.

The Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday that no police reports had been filed. Other law enforcement departments also cover parts of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Musk said, “Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.”

“Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok,” Musk added. 

The accounts that were suspended, though, did not tweet about the real-time location of the car Musk said his child was in. One of the banned accounts, “@elonjet,” previously tweeted flight data showing the location of Musk’s private jet. Some of the journalists who were banned had previously tweeted links to the account and other profiles run by creator Jack Sweeney, whose personal Twitter account was also suspended.

Flight data includes where a plane lands, but it does not track a plane’s occupants outside the plane itself, so it could not be used to trace the real-time location of Musk or his children if they were not onboard or near the plane. 

The account for Mastodon, a platform that has emerged as one of Twitter’s major competitors, was suspended Thursday as well, and links to Mastodon and other autonomous, decentralized networks were blocked as “unsafe” links that could no longer be tweeted.

The suspensions Thursday were sharply criticized by free speech experts, and Musk cheerleaders and some conservative influencers joined in condemning the move.

Musk had vowed to run Twitter as a free speech absolutist, and since taking control has reinstated accounts associated with the QAnon movement and other far-right groups but banned others.


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