criticism is raining down on Elon Musk after the social network suspended
Elon Musk drew reaction from lawmakers and figures across the political spectrum overnight in response to Twitter suspending the accounts of more than half a dozen reporters who covered Musk at The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major outlets.
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The journalists were initially suspended on Thursday without warning, but Musk later told reporters in an interview on Twitter Spaces that the banned accounts had shared real-time location information, which could be linked to famous people like Musk. There was an explicit reference to the accounts tracking the planes.
Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., who serves on the House Committee on Electronic Communications and the Internet, expressed concern over the restrictions.
“My team met with [Twitter] today,” Tran said on Thursday. “They told us they are not going to retaliate against independent journalists or researchers who publish criticisms of the platform.”
“Less than 12 hours later, multiple technology journalists have been suspended. What’s the deal, @elonmusk?” she added.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who has 13.4 million followers on the platform and who previously described threats on her life, sharply criticized the deletion of journalists’ accounts.
Ocasio-Cortez said, “You are a public figure. A very controversial and powerful figure.” “I feel unsafe, but getting into abuse of power + wrongfully banning journalists only increases the intensity around you.”
He said, “Take a beat and drive away proto-fascism.” “Maybe try putting your phone down.”
The latest suspension comes days after Twitter banned accounts sharing publicly available information on air travel. Musk said the company implemented a new rule the same day that prohibited the dissemination of real-time location information on the platform after a stalker allegedly followed a car carrying Musk’s son .
Musk posted a poll on his Twitter account Thursday night asking followers whether the suspension of journalist accounts should be lifted “now” or “in 7 days.” As of Friday morning, nearly 3 million people had voted, preferring that the ban be lifted immediately by a margin of 58% to 42%.
European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova described the restrictions as “worrying” and said they violate measures recently implemented by the European Union regulating content moderation procedures on social media platforms.
The Digital Services Act, an EU law that takes effect in 2023, slaps offenders with fines of up to 6% of global revenue.
“There are red lines,” Jurova said on Friday. “And sanctions, soon.”
Journalists suspended from the platform include Ryan Mack of The New York Times, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post and Donnie O’Sullivan of CNN, as well as freelance journalists Keith Olbermann and Aaron Ruper.
CNN said in a statement: “The impulsive and unwarranted suspension of several reporters, including CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan, is worrying but not surprising.”
“The increasing instability and volatility of Twitter should be of incredible concern to everyone who uses Twitter,” the statement said. “We have asked Twitter for clarification, and we will re-evaluate our relationship based on that response.”
Similarly, a spokesperson for The New York Times expressed dismay at the restrictions.
“The suspension of the Twitter accounts of several prominent journalists last night, including Ryan Mack of The New York Times, is suspicious and unfortunate,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added, “Neither The Times nor Ryan has received an explanation as to why this happened. We hope that all journalists’ accounts have been reinstated and that Twitter will provide a satisfactory explanation for this action.” does.”
The move drew criticism from prominent commentators across the political spectrum.
Ben Shapiro, a conservative pundit with 5.2 million followers on Twitter, opposed the ban, even though he expressed sympathy for Musk’s security fears and criticized some journalists who were subject to the ban.
Meanwhile, Will Cain, the conservative host of the Fox News program “Fox & Friends”, expressed disagreement with Rupar’s ban. Cain said, “I haven’t seen a compelling case for his suspension from Twitter.”
Musk, a self-styled defender of free speech that acquired Twitter in October, previously said he would not ban the account tracking his flight activity.
He said on Twitter on November 6, “My commitment to freedom of expression goes so far as to not ban the account that follows my plane, even if it is a direct personal safety risk.”
Earlier this month, Musk framed previous content moderation on Twitter as censorship when he sent some reporters internal Twitter communications related to the restriction of messages linked to a New York Post report about Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden. granted access.
Journalists called the forthcoming set of stories about internal communications the Twitter Files.
Wesley Lowery, a freelance journalist and a former reporter for the Washington Post, criticized Twitter’s suspension of accounts belonging to journalists as a restriction of speech that exceeded previous efforts to disclose internal communications.
Lowery said, “Twitter’s owner has targeted and suspended journalists who shared accurate reporting about him, more than what was exposed in the so-called #twitterfiles, for violating the spirit of Twitter as a public square.” Much more disturbing and far more so.”