CNN experts, the New York Timeswhere the washington post but also many independent journalists are part of Elon Musk’s latest targets. Twitter on Thursday, December 15, suspended the accounts of a dozen American reporters who covered the social network and its new owner.
In response, voices were raised in Europe and some elected politicians announced they were leaving the social network to protest against this attack on freedom of expression, of which Musk has nevertheless presented himself as a paragon since he bought Twitter. Even the UN says it is “very disturbed” by the voice of Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “Media voices should not be silenced on a platform that professes to be a space of freedom […] The decision sets a dangerous precedent at a time when journalists everywhere are facing censorship, physical threats and even worse.
Calling this decision a“disturbing”Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Jourova recalled that there are “red lines”threatening Elon Musk “sanctions, soon”. In another tweet, the French Minister for the Digital Transition, Jean-Noël Barrot, said to himself “distressed by the drift in which Elon Musk is precipitating Twitter” : “Freedom of the press is the very foundation of democracy. To attack one is to attack the other”.
“Freedom of the press should not be turned on and off at convenience“Writes for its part the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its Twitter account, above a screenshot of the suspended accounts. “For this reason, we have a problem with Twitter”, adds the German diplomacy. Deputy German government spokesman Wolfgang Büchner tweeted: “The arbitrary suspension of journalists’ accounts on Twitter is unacceptable. If this evolution continues, I will leave this platform”.
Some of the suspended journalists had tweeted about Twitter’s decision on Wednesday to suspend the account that automatically reported Elon Musk’s private jet rides. “The impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters like the one [du journaliste] CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan is disturbing but not surprising”reacted in a press release the American chain. Twitter’s growing instability and volatility 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.”
A Twitter account for social network competitor Mastodon has also been suspended, according to NBC News.
Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday that a car in Los Angeles with his child in it had been tracked by a “crazy stalker,” and appeared to point to the tracking of his private jet as the reason. He announced in this tweet that he was going to sue the person behind the now suspended @ElonJet account.
Created by a student and followed by around 500,000 people, @ElonJet used public data to automatically indicate when and where the SpaceX and Tesla boss’s device took off and landed.
Twitter later communicated that its policy now banned most tweets that showed someone’s location in real time.
“Posting someone’s location in real time violates the ‘doxing’ policy, but posting it offline is allowed”, had tweeted, Wednesday, Elon Musk. The term “doxing” means disclosing publicly, most often on the Internet, personal information relating to an individual, without their consent.
When he arrived at the head of Twitter, Elon Musk had promised not to touch the @ElonJet account. Since taking over the platform for $44 billion, the billionaire has sent mixed messages about what is and isn’t allowed on it. 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 of several messages deemed anti-Semitic and refused the return to the platform of the far-right conspirator, Alex Jones.