Elon Musk announces reinstatement of suspended journalist accounts

Siège social de Twitter à San Francisco en Californie.

Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, announced late Friday night that he would restore suspended accounts of several journalists. “People have spoken. Accounts that had published my location will have their suspension lifted“, tweeted the billionaire, who had been threatened Friday with sanctions by the European Union while the UN had denounced “a dangerous precedent“with the suspension of the accounts of a dozen journalists.

The boss of the social network had launched a poll on Twitter to ask if he should restore the suspended accounts immediately or within a week. Nearly 59% of the 3.69 million Internet users who took part in the survey replied that he should restore them immediately.

The account of the former Vox journalist, Aaron Rupar, reactivated

Some accounts appeared to have been reactivated, like that of former Vox journalist Aaron Rupar. “I was initially pretty sick of being suspended, but I quickly realized it would be okay because I’m blessed with a fantastic online community.“, Mr. Rupar tweeted, thanking people for their support.

On the social network, a dozen American journalists have been suspended. Among them are media workers like CNN (Donie O’Sullivan), the New York Times (Ryan Mac), the Washington Post (Drew Harwell) and independent journalists.

The suspension of the @elonjet account

The @elonjet account automatically reported the routes of Elon Musk’s private jet. The controversy began on Wednesday when Elon Musk announced suspend this @elonjet account. Some Twitter users then tweeted about the decision. But Elon Musk had justified the suspension of the accounts by saying that they endangered his safety as well as that of his family.

No explanation of why accounts were suspended. In a tweet posted overnight from Thursday to Friday, Elon Musk announced a seven-day temporary suspension for “accounts involved in doxing“, that is to say publicly disclosing on the Internet personal information relating to an individual, without his consent.

The suspension of accounts caused an outcry

The United Nations has vigorously denounced the suspension of these accounts. “Decision sets dangerous precedent at a time when journalists everywhere face censorship, physical threats and worse“Said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova recalled that there were “red lines” not to be crossed, threatening Elon Musk “with sanctions, soon” in a tweet. And the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) had called for the reinstatement of the accounts of the journalists concerned, considering that “the arbitrariness of the major platforms“represented a”major danger to democracy“.

Since buying the social network for 44 billion dollars, Elon Musk has sent mixed messages about what is allowed or not. fervent defender of a great freedom of expression, as long as the comments are within the law, he reinstated accounts like Donald Trump’s. But he also suspended that of Kanye West after the publication of several messages deemed anti-Semitic and refused the return to the platform of the far-right conspirator, Alex Jones.

“Serious concerns” remain

Good news that journalists are reinstated on Twitter, but serious concerns remain“, said the United Nations high commissioner for human rights on the social network, urging the owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, to “commit to making decisions based on publicly available policies that respect rights, including freedom of expression.”