On Thursday, Twitter suspended the accounts of a number of journalists for allegedly disclosing sensitive information regarding the locations of Elon Musk, the company’s owner. The journalists’ profiles and whatever tweets they had sent vanished after their suspension. Among them were Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, and Donie O’Sullivan of CNN.
People were not pleased with Twitter’s move to permanently block accounts of accused journalists for monitoring his private jet travels using data that was available to the public. Elon Musk polled his followers to determine when the ban should be lifted, and the results supported doing so as soon as possible.
Musk eventually ended the voting by claiming that there will be another chance since there were too many possibilities. The new poll, which has received more than 2.2 million votes as of this writing, also supports instantly unbanning the suspended accounts.
The suspended journalists gained access to Twitter Spaces, the website’s audio chat feature, despite being unable to access their accounts. There, Musk sparred with Drew Harwell of The Washington Post and responded to the latter with the one-liner, “You doxx, you get suspended, end of the story,” to defend his course of action. The recorded call abruptly terminated just after 9 o’clock Pacific Time. At its height, it attracted more than 40,000 listeners.
Holy Crap. Elon Musk recently joined a Twitter Spaces conversation with many journalists. He was caught out for lying about posting links to his private information by journalist Drew Harrell, whom he banned, and then nearly quickly quits after being pressed. This image shows the exchange.
December 16, 2022 — Bradley Eversley (@ForeverEversley)
The Spaces session was held immediately after the first poll, and journalists from outlets like Mashable (Matt Binder), BuzzFeed News (Katie Notopoulos), NBC News (Ben Collins), and others were among those who attended.
Musk argued that doxxing his real-time positions amounted to “plotting assassination coordinates” and endangered his family in order to justify his decision to bar media. He described a situation in which someone thought they were him and was stalked, only to be stopped and threatened later.
Last night, a psychotic stalker followed a car carrying Little X across LA, thinking it was me. He later stopped the car from moving and got over the hood.
Sweeney and the organisations who sponsored the devastation to my family are being sued.
— Elon Musk, December 15, 2022 (@elonmusk)
The entire incident prompted the microblogging service to modify its policies so that no user is allowed to share another person’s present location without first getting that person’s permission.