Thursday evening saw Twutter suspending well-known journalists featured on the platform without any warning or an explanation.
This development comes right after Twitter banned an account tracking his jet called ElonJet, subsequently banning the Twitter account of Mastodon because it linked to the Mastodon page of ElonJet, the student-made bot.
Drew Harwell, a reporter working for Washington Post, tweeted about Mastodon’s suspension just before his ban from Twitter. At least some of the other journalists whose accounts got suspended had made remarks and shared screenshots regarding Mastodon’s ban.
A journalist by the name of Aaron Rupar, Mashable’s Matt Binder, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan, and the former MSNBC honest Keith Olbermann got suspended as well on Thursday evening.
Aaron Rupar noted that while he did not know why his account was banned, he did mention ElonJet while sharing a link to its Facebook account in his report. Meanwhile, Ryan Mac used an alternative Twitter account to share the message he received from Twitter, noting that there was no warning about the incoming ban.
In a short statement about the situation, Musk tweeted that “the same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else.”
We still don’t know if the bans are a result of Elon Musk modifying the moderation process based on his preferences. It is equally possible that automated systems are enforcing Twitter’s new rules against publishing people’s private information without their permission now that the company’s human moderation teams have reduced in number.
Musk’s statement came as a reply to Mike Solana’s tweet about the connections he found between the banned accounts, stating that they had all shared links to “the jet tracker thing.”
In another reply, Musk said the ban will last for 7 days, and he also tweeted a poll asking for his followers’ opinion on how long the suspension of the banned journalists should last.
Musks’ Twitter bans journalists while the policy the journalists’ accounts violated, a prohibition against sharing personal information without consent and the sharing of “live location data,” is only 24 hours old. What do you think, is this the result of automated moderation going wild, or is Musk acting directly behind the scenes?