Twitter suddenly suspends accounts of several tech journalists

Twitter abruptly suspended the accounts of at least six tech journalists Thursday evening, including reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN.

Many of the reporters had recently tweeted about a dispute between Elon Musk, the social network’s new owner, and a user who ran a series of accounts that use publicly available flight information to track the location of private jets, including Musk’s. The suspensions, which appear to have occurred around 4:30 p.m. PT, include Washington Post technology reporter Drew Harwell, New York Times technology reporter Ryan Mac, and CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan.

Aaron Rupar, a Substack writer who was also suspended Thursday, said he was stunned at his suspension.

“I have no idea what rules I supposedly broke,” Rupar wrote on Substack. “I haven’t heard from Twitter at all.”

Rupar said he “posted a tweet late last night noting that Musk appeared to be violating Twitter’s policy against posting images of anyone without their consent in a tweet he posted yesterday. But it’s hard to imagine how one of doing those things was against Twitter’s policy.”

Twitter on Wednesday the @ElonJet account suspendedalong with other accounts that followed the private jets of Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates, after updating the privacy policy to prohibit posting or linking to information about someone’s physical location or travel itinerary, whether or not the information is publicly available.

After suspending @ElonJet, Musk tweeted that “Any account doxxing someone’s real-time location information will be suspended, as it is a physical security violation. This includes posting links to real-time location sites -information.”

Doxxing is the practice of posting identifying information about a person online, such as their real name, home address or phone number.

Twitter, which no longer has a communications department, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Musk responded to a tweet about the suspensions with a one sentence answer which read: “The same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else.”

Musk has been in a long-running dispute with Jack Sweeney, the 20-year-old student who runs the account. Earlier this year, Musk reportedly offered Sweeney $5,000 to delete the account, but the 20-year-old student declined, saying $5,000 was not enough for the satisfaction he got from his job.

Other journalists suspended Thursday night include Mashable reporter Matt Binder, Intercept reporter Micah Lee and former MSNBC host Keith Olberman, who had criticized Musk in tweets.

Twitter has been somewhat chaotic since Musk completed his purchase of Twitter on Oct. 27. About half of Twitter’s staff was fired just days after Musk took charge, and the site briefly launched a new “blue check” verification service only to be plagued by trolls and fake “verified” accounts.

An account that allowed Twitter users to sign into a rival social network Mastodon is also suspended Thursday.

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