On Thursday evening, Twitter CEO Elon Musk suspended several journalists, including liberal commentator Keith Olbermann, for reporting on a Twitter account that was tracking Musk’s private flights. Journalists were suspended after Musk threatened legal action against the college student who ran the tracking account after a “crazy stalker” followed the car transporting Musk’s son.
“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,” Musk announced. “Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.”
Journalists lost access to their accounts hours later. The suspensions included CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac and independent journalist Aaron Rupar.
Reporters covering Elon Musk being nuked:
Donie O’Sullivan, @CNN
Drew Harwell, @washingtonpost
Ryan Mac, @nytimes
Aaron Rupar, independent pic.twitter.com/1x9oJijobA
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) December 16, 2022
In response to the suspensions, Musk tweeted about the reasons behind them. “Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” he wrote. “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service,” he added.
Before Musk acquired Twitter, he stated that he would allow the account to post information regarding his location to the social media platform. Critics of Musk pointed out that the action appeared very abrupt and seemed hypocritical compared to the statements he made about his commitment to free speech when he took control of the platform.
“My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” Musk said in a previous tweet.
Olbermann seems to have been banned for requesting that one of his followers post the link that got another journalist banned in the first place.
As part of his appearance on CNN, O’Sullivan accused Musk of simply suspending accounts that he didn’t like due to his feelings. In addition, before he was suspended, he reported that the Los Angeles Police Department had no record of the attack on Musk’s child and that he had found no evidence to support Musk’s claim.