After global outcry, Elon Musk allows journalists banned from Twitter to return

After remonstrances from EU and UN spokespeople, Elon Musk granted certain journalist accounts the right to return to Twitter. He assures that it is a decision based on the results of a Twitter survey.

As usual, he will say that “ the people have spoken “. Elon Musk agreed on December 17, 2022 to reinstate the Twitter accounts of the dozen journalists who had seen their official account suspended the day before. The billionaire says that these are accounts that ” dox its location in real time “.

Doxing is a practice that aims to publish all the information that can identify a person online, as well as their physical location such as their address or the address of their relatives. It is used by malicious people who want to make a virtual mob go to their target’s real home.

Elon Musk, the new head of Twitter since the end of October, uses the term doxing badly here.

Elon Musk, private jets and journalists: the timeline of one hellish week

The billionaire is actually trying again to get out of a deadlock in which he has locked himself. The chronological overview is as clear as transparent in bad faith:

  • For yearsElon Musk is trying to remove Twitter accounts that collect public data from his private jet trips — initiatives primarily aimed at educating billionaires about their carbon footprints.
  • In October 2022Elon Musk becomes head of Twitter.
  • 14 December 2022, the ElonJet account, which tracks the movements of Musk’s jet, has been suspended. The reason: Twitter now considers it a practice of doxing — even though the data is public.
  • 15 December 2022Twitter updates its rules and decides that sharing a person’s real-time location on its platform is now prohibited.
  • 16 December 2022, Twitter bans half a dozen journalists who followed Musk’s career and the Twitter takeover very closely. These reporters (from CNN, the New York Times, or the Washington Post) had obviously not shared Musk’s real-time location. Some had written articles about the ElonJet account suspension. Others had attended a moonlit meeting on Twitter Space with the billionaire, who snuck up and left the interview after three questions. One, Linette Lopez, has been known to investigate Tesla and Musk for years. She was suspended without ever tweeting Musk’s whereabouts, but after posting tweets that recalled all the times Musk had targeted and doxed individuals by name on his account.

A few hours later, the United Nations condemned this decision, which could establish a ” previously dangerous through the voice of a spokesman. Several personalities within the governance of the European Union have also verbalized a ” worry ” on this “ arbitrary suspension “.

Věra Jourová, vice-president of the commission dedicated to transparency and values, specified in particular that Twitter in Europe should respect the new regulation called DSA, which guarantees the freedom of the press.

Links to Mastodon may also be reposted

Some accounts of American journalists were reinstated on December 17, 2022, after approximately 24 hours of suspension. To from Linette Lopez’s account has not yet been repealed.

Linette Lopez’s account still hasn’t returned // Source: Capture of December 17, 2022

The ElonJet account was also not recovered.

On one of its official accounts, Twitter wrote: We identified several rules where suspension felt like an overreaction to breaking Twitter’s rules. We have begun restoring suspended accounts (…) and will extend this decision to additional accounts, weekly, for the next 30 days.”

However, another decision was made without official communication: the permission to republish links on Twitter to Mastodon, the competing platform, which no longer had the right to citizenship on Elon Musk’s social network. The page with the little blue bird had been accused of limiting the visibility of Mastodon links for days, but it was on December 16 that Twitter decided to simply ban its users from sharing links to the platform, as if it was an illegal page .


Illustration Mastodon // Source: Numerama/Nino Barbey

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