February 4, 2023

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Twitter Just Banned Prominent Journalists Covering Elon Musk Without Warning • Eureka News Now

On Thursday evening, Twitter suspended a number of prominent journalists on the platform without warning or explanation.

The situation followed the company’s decision to suspend the Twitter account of Mastodon, an open-source social media alternative that has gained momentum since Elon Musk acquired the company. Twitter took action against Mastodon after the account was linked to @ElonJet’s Mastodon page, a student-made bot that tracks the whereabouts of Musk’s private jet.

At least some of the banned accounts had shared screenshots and observations related to the mastodon ban. Shortly before his suspension, Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell tweeted that Mastodon was thrown off the platform.

Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, Eureka News Now’s Donie O’Sullivan, Mashable’s Matt Binder and journalist Aaron Rupar were also suspended Thursday night. Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been a regular feature of many of the reporters over the past few months.

Rupar commented on his suspension from Substack, noting that while he didn’t know why his account was deactivated, he shared a link to ElonJet’s Facebook account in the course of reporting on the issue. Through an alternate account, Mac shared the message he received from Twitter, noting that there was no warning before the permanent ban was issued.

Some people asked so I’ll try to answer here:
-This is the notification on my account.
– I wasn’t warned.
– I have not received any emails or communications from the company about the reason for the suspension.
-I report on Elon Musk and his companies on Twitter. And I will continue to do so. pic.twitter.com/Fz14nStH7U

— Ryan Mac Silenced (@MacSilenced) December 16, 2022

Some of the banned accounts shared the twitter handles of Mastodon and ElonJet, as well as images of the tweet that appears to have resulted in the former account being banned.

Given Twitter’s reduced human moderation teams, it’s possible that automated systems enforcing Twitter’s brand new rules against accounts like @ElonJet were overzealous in this case. But it’s at least as likely that Musk is tweaking the moderation process to his own liking — we just won’t know until someone on Twitter explains what’s going on.

Update: Musk just weighed the suspensions and characterized them as intentional. “The same doxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as everyone else,” he tweeted in a reply.

The same doxing rules apply to “journalists” as to everyone else

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2022

Eureka News Now has reached out to Ella Irwin, Twitter’s new head of trust and safety, for an explanation as to why accounts weren’t given the option to delete the offending tweets, which is common with many Twitter violations. It’s worth noting that the policy these accounts have violated is a ban sharing “live location information”, is only 24 hours old.

This story develops…