Twitter restores suspended accounts of journalists after Elon Musk poll

Elon Musk. [Photo: Wikimedia]

Elon Musk reinstated Twitter access of the journalists whose handles were suspended after Musk claimed they doxxed his location in real-time. A poll was also conducted asking people when the suspensions for the affected accounts should be lifted.

“The people have spoken,” Elon Musk tweeted.

Twitter users voted in a poll posted by Musk to reinstate the accounts, which were cut off without warning. The social media platform’s new owner has recently used Twitter polls for several high-profile decisions including the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s account.

Earlier on Thursday, the Twitter accounts of several high-profile journalists were banned by the social media company. The journalists belonged to top organizations including CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, The Intercept, MSNBC, Mashable and VOX.

Elon Musk had claimed that journalists have written about him and shared links to ElonJet, a website that tracks the billionaire’s flights. In a series of tweets, Musk claimed the reporters had put him and his family at risk by sharing his real-time location.

Sometime after his initial explanation, however, the billionaire launched a Twitter poll asking users if the journalists from CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, The Intercept, MSNBC, Mashable and VOX should be reinstated to the platform.

“Unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time?” Musk asked his 121.6 million followers, providing the options of ‘now’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘seven days from now’ or ‘longer.’ After 43% said the accounts should be reinstated he relaunched the poll with just two options: ‘now’ or ‘in seven days.’ 59% of the 1.2 million votes chose ‘now’.

Musk later doubled down on his reasoning for the ban, stating that the journalists had “posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service.”

“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!” the billionaire tweeted, later pointing out that the “same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else.”

During a Twitter Space conference call later that day, Musk confronted one of the suspended journalists, Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, who insisted that he was merely reporting on ElonJet and that Musk had wrongfully interpreted the information.

“You are suggesting we are sharing your address, which is not true,” he told the billionaire, who responded by explaining that sharing links to accounts or websites that share real-time location information is considered to be “ban evasion.”

“You dox, you get suspended, end of story, that’s it” Musk proclaimed, as per Russian TV Network RT before abruptly ending the call.


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