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

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

After remonstrances from spokespersons for the European Union and the United Nations, Elon Musk granted the right to certain journalist accounts to return to Twitter. He assures that it is a decision based on the results of a Twitter poll.

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 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 that of their relatives. It is used by malicious people who want to induce a virtual mob to go to the real home of their target.

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

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

The billionaire is in fact trying to get out, again, of an impasse in which he has locked himself. The chronological summary is as clear as transparent in bad faith:

  • For yearsElon Musk is trying to take down Twitter accounts that aggregate public data from his private jet trips — initiatives aimed primarily at educating billionaires about their carbon footprint.
  • In October 2022Elon Musk becomes head of Twitter.
  • December 14, 2022, the ElonJet account, which tracks the movements of Musk’s jet, is suspended. The reason: Twitter now considers it a practice of doxing — although the data is public.
  • December 15, 2022Twitter updates its rules and decides that it is now forbidden to share any real-time location of a person on its platform.
  • December 16, 2022, Twitter bans half a dozen journalists who followed Musk’s career and the Twitter takeover very closely. These journalists (from CNN, the New York Times or the Washington Post) had obviously not shared Musk’s location in real time. Some had written articles about the suspension of the ElonJet account. Others had taken part in a lunar Twitter Space meeting 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 recalling 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 ” previous dangerous through the voice of a spokesperson. 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, notably specified that in Europe, Twitter had to respect the new regulation called DSA, which guarantees the freedom of the press.

Links to Mastodon may also be re-posted

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

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

The ElonJet account was also not reinstated.

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

Another decision was however taken, without official communication: the authorization to publish again on Twitter links to Mastodon, the competing platform which no longer had the right of citizenship on the social network of Elon Musk. The site with the little blue bird had been accused of restricting 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, like s it was an illegal site.

For further

Illustration Mastodon // Source: Numerama/Nino Barbey