Against the backdrop of allegations against Twitter for jeopardizing press freedom, Twitter’s head Elon Musk restored the accounts of journalists which he had suspended earlier.
The act against the journalists’ accounts took place after these accounts published the billionaire’s plane coordinates in real time.
Known in the name of ElonJet, it is an online service that enables social media accounts to track the coordinates of Elon Musk’s private plane.
In a Twitter post that was published on 17th December, Mr. Musk shared that accounts who had “ doxed” his location will have their suspension lifted now.
According to Wikipedia, doxing is a term used to denote the public display of personally identifiable information about any individual or organization through a medium such as the internet.
Journalists’ Twitter Accounts, Which Elon Musk Had Disabled, Have Been Reactivated
It was in this context of revealing his private information, Mr. Musk had taken the serious measure of suspending the accounts of several journalists. These include journalists from claimed media such as New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post.
This incident where a group of reporters was suspended from Twitter was called the “ Thursday Night Massacre”. Critics consider this as the evidence and real-face reveal of Elon Musk who had called himself the “ free speech absolutist’.
The revoking of the suspension happened in the context of harsh criticism from certain government officials, journalism organizations, and social and right-to-speech advocacy groups. Amid these protests, Musk conducted a Twitter poll that was used by thousands of Twitter users.
Many of these people demanded the restoration of these journalists’ accounts immediately. According to Volker Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Twitter had to be aware of its responsibility to keep respect towards human rights. In his words, Elon Musk should make policies that are rooted in respecting free speech.
Many other denoted dignitaries and government officials came with more protests and allegations against the suspension of the journalists’ accounts. As per Melissa Fleming, head of communications for the United Nations, the suspension of the journalists was “ deeply disturbing” and she opined that media freedom is not to be taken as a playtoy. Even though
Elon Musk blames these journalists for posting “ assassination coordinates”, he hasn’t yet presented any proof for this allegation. According to Donnie O’Sullivan, a journalist from CNN, one from the suspended list, he hasn’t done anything related to revealing the live location of Mr. Musk’s plane.
In the context of all these, certain accounts were already reactivated. It includes the accounts of Matt Binder( Mashable), Tony Webster ( Freelance), Aaron Rupar ( Vox), etc. But some of the accounts were still suspended till Saturday.
It included the accounts of Linette Lopez ( Business Insider) and Keith Olbermann( MSNBC). It was after all the protests, Mr. Musk decided to conduct a poll to know the interest of people regarding the deactivation of accounts.
In the first poll conducted, many supported an immediate revoking of the suspension. In the second poll that followed, around 3.7 million people voted and almost 60% of them urged him to lift the ban.
In the aftermath of these events, Mr. Musk also participated in a brief session in Twitter Spaces Audio Chat which was hosted by a group of journalists. This discussion was transformed into a heated debate on whether the sharing of Musk’s location is a violation of Twitter policy.
In response to the questions asked in this session, Mr. Musk repeatedly answered that doxing deserves a suspension. Katie Notopoulos, the Buzzfeed reporter who hosted the chat tweeted later that the whole session was cut all of a sudden and there was no recording available. On asking about this incident Musk replied that it was a bug that caused the issue.