Elon Musk's suspension of journalists' Twitter accounts sparks outcry

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Elon Musk's suspension of journalists' Twitter accounts sparks outcry

Twitter has suspended the accounts of a dozen American journalists, including some from The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN.

Self-proclaimed defender of freedom of expression, the controversial billionaire Elon Musk, new owner of Twitter, caused an outcry on Friday and is threatened with sanctions by the European Union for having suspended the accounts of several American journalists.

Calling the decision worrying, European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova reminded that there are red lines that should not be crossed, threatening Elon Musk in a tweet of sanctions, soon.

Freedom of the press should not be turned on and off at will, the German Foreign Ministry denounced in a tweet on Friday, adding that for this reason we have a problem with Twitter.

The case also had repercussions all the way to the Commons in Ottawa: Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said journalists must be able to report the news freely, as they see it. . They must be able to ask tough questions about facts they observe.

Freedom of the press is absolutely essential to our democracy, Mr. Rodriguez added.

For its part, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called for the accounts of the journalists concerned to be restored, considering that the arbitrariness of the major platforms represented a major danger for democracy, and calling for them to regain control before [… ] let it not be too late.

A dozen American journalists have been suspended from the social network. Among them, media workers such as CNN (Donie O'Sullivan), New York Times (Ryan Mac), Washington Post (Drew Harwell) and independent journalists.

CNN reporter Donie O'Sullivan.

Some had tweeted about Twitter's decision on Wednesday to suspend the account that automatically reported the routes of Elon Musk's private jet.

The latter accused them of endangering his safety and that of his family. He claimed in a tweet on Wednesday that a vehicle with one of his children on board was tracked through Los Angeles by a crazed stalker, appearing to create a causal link to the real-time positioning of his jet.


Twitter did not specify why these accounts were suspended. The owner of the social network, source of much controversy since he bought it in October, however gave some indications.

Everyone will be treated the same, he said in an organized Twitter Live audio chat on Friday, indicating that there would be no privileges for journalists. Relaunched on the subject, Mr. Musk left the discussion. He then deactivated the Twitter Spaces audio chat service, citing a technical problem.

In a tweet published overnight from Thursday to Friday, Mr. Musk announced a temporary suspension of 7 days for accounts involved in doxing.

The term “doxing means publicly disclosing personal information about an individual on the Internet, without their consent.

They shared my exact geographic location in real time, i.e. literally the coordinates allowing for an assassination, in direct [and obvious] violation of Twitter's terms of service, Musk also assured. social, has also been suspended.

The impulsive and unwarranted suspension of a number of reporters like CNN's [reporter] Donie O'Sullivan is disturbing, but not surprising, CNN said in a statement.

“The instability and increasing volatility of Twitter is of particular concern to anyone using the platform. We've asked Twitter for an explanation, and we'll reassess our relationship based on that response.”

—CNN Statement

We hope the accounts of all of these reporters will be recovered and Twitter will provide a satisfactory explanation, New York Times spokesperson Charlie Stadtlander said.

CNN management said it would reassess its relationship with Twitter once it provided an explanation about the suspended accounts.

After the tracked vehicle incident involving his son, Mr. Musk announced in this tweet that he would be suing the person behind the @ElonJet account, now suspended.

Founded by a student and followed by approximately 500,000 people, @ElonJet used public data to automatically track when and where the SpaceX and Tesla boss' plane took off and landed.

Twitter had subsequently communicated to announce that its rules now prohibited most tweets that indicated the location of someone in real time.

To its arriving at the head of Twitter, Elon Musk had promised not to touch the @ElonJet account.

Since his acquisition of the platform for 44 billion dollars, the billionaire has sent messages contradictory on what is authorized or not.

Fervent defender of a great freedom of expression, as long as the remarks respect the law, he restored accounts previously banned by the social network, including that of Donald Trump.

But he also suspended that of Kanye West after the publication ion of several posts deemed anti-Semitic and denied the return to the platform of far-right conspiratorialist Alex Jones.

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