Musk suspends journalists on Twitter and causes chaos

A self-proclaimed defender of freedom of expression, controversial billionaire Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, caused an uproar on Friday and was threatened with sanctions by the European Union for suspending the accounts of several American journalists.

Describing the decision as “worrying”, European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova recalled that there were “red lines, threatening Elon Musk “with sanctions, soon”, in a tweet.

“Freedom of the press must not be turned on and off at will,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a tweet on Friday. “For this reason, we have a problem with Twitter,” added the German diplomat.

In another tweet, the French Minister for the Digital Transition, Jean-Noël Barrot, said that he was “disturbed by the drift in which Elon Musk leads Twitter”: “Freedom of the press is at the very foundation of democracy. one is to attack the other.”

A dozen American journalists were suspended from the social network. Among them are media workers such as CNN (Donie O’Sullivan), New York Times (Ryan Mac), Washington Post (Drew Harwell) and independent journalists.

Some tweeted about Twitter’s decision Wednesday to suspend the account that automatically reported Elon Musk’s private jet rides.

– “Temporary suspension” –

Twitter did not say why these accounts were suspended, or for how long they were suspended. The owner of the social network, a source of much controversy since he bought it in October, however gave some indications in a flurry of tweets posted overnight from Thursday to Friday.

“Accounts involved in doxing receive a temporary suspension of 7 days,” tweeted Elon Musk, indicating that these rules applied “+ to journalists + (with quotes, editor’s note) like anyone else “.

The term “doxing” means the public disclosure of personal information about an individual on the Internet without their consent.

“They posted my exact real-time location, literally the coordinates of the assassination, in direct (and obvious) violation of Twitter’s terms of service,” Musk said.

The Twitter account of Mastodon, a competitor of the social network, was also suspended.

“The impulsive and unwarranted suspension of a number of reporters like CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan is disturbing but not surprising,” CNN said in a statement.

“Twitter’s growing instability and volatility is of particular concern to anyone who uses the platform. We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will re-evaluate our relationship based on that response,” CNN added.

“We hope that the accounts of all these journalists will be restored and that Twitter will provide a satisfactory explanation,” said New York Times spokesman Charlie Stadtlander.

– “Harasser” –

At the beginning of this story, Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday that a car in Los Angeles with one of his children was followed by “a crazy stalker”, and apparently pointed to the tracking of his private jet as one. .reason.

He announced in this tweet that he will be suing 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’ device took off and landed.

Twitter then reached out to announce that its policy now prohibits most tweets that reveal a person’s location in real time.

When he came to the head of Twitter, Elon Musk promised that he would not touch the @ElonJet account.

Since acquiring the platform for $44 billion, the billionaire has sent mixed messages about what is and isn’t allowed on it.

Passionate defender of a great freedom of expression – as long as the statements respect the law – he returned the accounts previously banned by the social network, including that of Donald Trump.

But he also suspended Kanye West’s after the publication of several messages deemed anti-Semitic and denied the return to the platform of the far-right conspirator, Alex Jones.

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