Elon Musk blocks Twitter accounts of US journalists, forgetting “freedom of speech”

Several journalists have found their Twitter accounts suspended, shortly after the ElonJet account tracking Elon Musk’s private jet activity was also shut down. The reason is said to be ElonJet’s own activity, which allegedly put Musk’s family members’ lives at risk recently. After taking over Twitter, Musk said he wouldn’t block the account tracking his plane, as freedom of speech was more important, but his promises never amounted to much, as the billionaire has demonstrated over the years with his actions. In fact, one of the reasons he bought Twitter was because he claimed there was no freedom of speech on the platform.

Musk claims his family’s life was put in danger by ElonJet’s Twitter account

Since there is no longer a clear set of rules on Twitter, Elon Musk is inventing new rules and changing them as he sees fit, now that he has full control of the social network. Musk claims that a few days ago, the car his son was in was followed from the airport by an individual. He allegedly blocked the street and climbed on the hood of the car with his feet. However, at this point these claims are at least questioned, as the video Musk posted is not filmed near any airport, and a police report has not been filed.

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In the wake of this incident, Musk has decided that ElonJet and all accounts that engage in “doxxing” should be blocked without appeal. While “doxxing” generally means publishing private personal data, such as a home address or private phone number, Musk interprets any type of data that also provides real-time information about where someone might be as putting the person’s safety at risk.

The ElonJet account is controlled by a college student, who uses a bot he wrote and publicly available data to track Elon Musk’s jet activity, so no “doxxing” rules should apply to it. Musk says he will sue Jack Sweeney, the man behind the account.

Musk has gone further, however, by also blocking all prominent journalist accounts from major US publications that have lately linked to ElonJet or written articles that included ElonJet’s tweets. Ironically, however, those links and embeds can no longer be seen after the original account was blocked.

Journalists won’t get special treatment

Following this event, Musk walked into a Twitter Space where several journalists were discussing the event, where he declared live that journalists do not get special treatment and that all Twitter user rules apply to them, and doxxing will be punished without question. He quickly exited that “room” and within minutes, the entire chat room was shut down in the middle of a discussion, suggesting that it had been shut down at Musk’s request.

Twitter is now also blocking links to Mastodon, a platform that ElonJet still operates. Mastodon is an alternative to Twitter, and links to this network are now considered by Twitter to be “dangerous”.

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After the journalist blocking scandal hit the press, Musk conducted a poll among his followers asking whether to unblock journalist accounts immediately, in 7 days, tomorrow or later. Since most responses said to unblock them immediately, he closed the survey saying he had too many responses. A new questionnaire asking whether to unblock now or in 7 days was subsequently published, and the responses so far again suggest unblocking immediately. Elon Musk is likely to repeat this questionnaire until he gets the answer he wants.

Previously, Musk has unblocked accounts of some controversial figures, to say the least, who unabashedly discriminated against certain races or religious orientations, founders of pro-Nazi online publications, and abuses in this direction have increased significantly on the platform since Musk waived many of the penalties for such abuses.

Here’s the list of journalists who have been suspended on Twitter:

  • Matt Binder (Mashable)
  • Drew Harwell (Washington Post)
  • Steve Herman (VOA News)
  • It’s Going Down News (Independent Site)
  • Micah Lee (The Intercept)
  • Ryan Mac (New York Times)
  • Mastadon (Social Media Site)
  • Keith Olbermann (formerly MSNBC)
  • Donie O’Sullivan (CNN)
  • Tony Webster (Minnesota Reformer)

source: Gizmodo, photo

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