Twitter has banned multiple journalists on its platform. Elon Musk tweeted that the reason behind the suspension was live sharing of his location data.
In the early morning of Friday, December 16, microblogging platform Twitter banned some journalists from the platform. Most of these journalists were high-profile, belonging to institutions such as CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and more. While the reason for the ban was not known at the time, it was later revealed by the company CEO Elon Musk that the accounts were suspended in connection with live sharing of his location data (also known as doxxing), which violated the new terms of service of Twitter. Elon Musk also made a series of tweets after the suspension of the account and said that sharing the data was endangering his family.
According to a report by NBC News, the list of banned journalists include Ryan Mac from The New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan from CNN, Drew Harwell from The Washington Post, Matt Binder from Mashable, Micah Lee from The Intercept and Steve Herman from Voice of America. Independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann and Tony Webster were also banned from the platform.
Earlier, Musk had suspended the account of Jack Sweeney, a 20 years old user who made a bot that would post publicly available flight-tracking information whenever Musk’s private jet took off and landed. The Twitter chief also claimed that he would take legal action against Sweeney.
Elon Musk tweets why Twitter banned the journalists
Soon after the suspension to the Twitter accounts of the journalists, Elon Musk posted a series of tweets explaining the reason behind the ban as well justifying how these actions were endangering his and his family’s life.
Replying to a tweet which suggested that the journalists were banned because of criticizing the Twitter CEO, Musk said, “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not”.
Musk also highlighted the dangers of posting real-time location data and tweeted, “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service”. It should be noted that the data shared on Twitter was already publicly available and can be accessed by any individual by visiting websites that receive and track flight data that is mandated to be transmitted by the Federal Aviation Administration of USA.
Despite that, Musk added, “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”.
While he revealed that the suspension will last for 7 days, Musk also has put up a poll on his profile asking users whether the journalists should be unsuspended now, tomorrow, 7 days days from now or longer.