Twitter suspends accounts of several journalists who had reported on Elon Musk

A number of journalists who have reported on Twitter and its new chief executive Elon Musk appear to have been suspended or banned from the platform without explanation.

Accounts of tech journalists at CNN, the Washington Post, Mashable and the New York Times were suspended in quick succession Thursday evening. All had recently published articles about Musk’s suspension of a Twitter account that had shared publicly-available data about the movements of his private jet. Each of these articles had highlighted the tension between Musk’s stated commitment to “free speech” and his choice to ban an account that he personally disliked.

Ryan Mac, a New York Times tech reporter, wrote on a new Twitter account that he was given “no warning” before his account was suspended and that he has received no communication from the company about the reason his account was “permanently suspended.” He said that the company’s action would not change his job, which includes reporting “on Twitter, Elon Musk, and his companies”.

Some folks have asked so will try to answer here:
-This is the notification on my account.
-I was given no warning.
-I have no email or communication from the company about the reason for suspension.
-I report on Twitter, Elon Musk and his companies. And I will continue to do so.

— Silenced Ryan Mac (@MacSilenced) December 16, 2022

“Tonight’s suspension of the Twitter accounts of a number of prominent journalists, including the New York Times’s Ryan Mac, is questionable and unfortunate,” Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesperson for the New York Times, said in a statement. “Neither the Times nor Ryan have received any explanation about why this occurred. We hope that all of the journalists’ accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for this action.”

The Washington Post reported that technology reporter Drew Harnell was also suspended “without warning or explanation”.

Other journalists suspended around the same time on Thursday included Intercept reporter Micah Lee and independent reporter Aaron Rupar, who wrote on his Substack that Twitter informed him that he was “permanently suspended,” and that he had “posted a tweet late last night noting that Musk seemed to violate Twitter’s policy against posting footage of someone without their consent in a tweet he posted yesterday”.

Donie O’Sullivan, the CNN reporter whose account was suspended, is one of the country’s leading reporters on conspiracy theories and disinformation. Matt Binder, the Mashable reporter whose account was suspended, “was tweeting about O’Sullivan’s suspension when his account also went dark”, the Washington Post reported.

Twitter, which recently dissolved the majority of its press department, did not immediately respond to request for comment. The move comes after the platform banned an account known for posting details about the movements of Musk’s private jet, raising questions about what amount of control the executive is taking over content moderation on the platform.

Re: the banning of reporters who have tweeted about Elon Musk’s jet, Twitter’s head of trust & safety Ella Irwin tells me: “Without commenting on any specific accounts, I can confirm that we will suspend any accounts that violate our privacy policies and put other users at risk.”

— Alex Heath (@alexeheath) December 16, 2022

But Twitter’s head of trust and safety told the Verge, “Without commenting on any specific accounts, I can confirm that we will suspend any accounts that violate our privacy policies and put other users at risk.”

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