Twitter is restoring accounts of journalists who covered Elon Musk
A day after Twitter suspended several journalists covering Elon Musk, the company appears to have changed course and reinstated the accounts.
The move comes after Musk held a twitter poll ask whether the accounts should be restored “now” or “in 7 days”.
“People have spoken,” wrote the tech company’s controversial multi-billionaire a tweet Friday night. “Accounts that doxxed my location will now be banned.”
This week’s back-and-forth began on Wednesday when Twitter suspended an account tracking the public whereabouts of Musk’s private jet.
This account, named @ElonJet, remained suspended as of Friday night.
Among the journalists suspended Thursday were The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Mashable’s Matt Binder, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, political pundit Keith Olbermann and Steve Herman of the state-funded Voice of America. Musk indicated Thursday night that the suspensions would last for seven days.
Harwell’s last post before the suspension was about Twitter removing the account of one of his competitors, Mastodon, for posting a link to his own version of the @ElonJet account that tracked Musk’s plane. according to a tweet by NBC News reporter Ben Collins. (Mastodon’s Twitter account was also suspended Thursday.)
Olbermanns last tweet asked people to recreate Harwell’s post verbatim and link to an article by independent journalist Aaron Rupar, whose account was also suspended, that criticized Musk for his “populist cosplay” while he was one of the richest men in the world.
While most of the accounts suspended the night before appeared to have been recovered by Friday night, a search did not turn up Olbermann’s account.
This was announced on Wednesday by Twitter a policy update which prohibits the sharing of “live location information, including information shared directly on Twitter or links to third-party itinerary URLs”.
It appeared the suspended accounts might still be participating in Twitter Spaces, as several of the suspended journalists discussed the news in a live audio chat room Thursday night.
Musk briefly followed up to confirm that posting a link to a page that offers real-time location tracking like @ElonJet is a “ban evasion” and is no different than posting live locations directly.
“They show the link to real-time information, prohibit circumvention,” Musk said. “You Dox, you’re going to be suspended, end of story, that’s it.”
Musk’s apparent connection of the reporters’ suspensions to doxxing was quickly criticized when people pointed out that the reporters didn’t share location data or provide real-time tracking.
Jaimie Ding, a Times contributor, contributed to this report.