Elon Musk takes, Elon Musk gives.
Late Friday night, the mercurial mega-billionaire unilaterally announced that he would unban journalists whose accounts had been suspended the day before — Musk claimed he was “doing it by posting a link to an account that tracked his private jet.” cheat” him. Until this week, the CEOs of Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX were content that the jet tracker remained on the social network he acquired for $44 billion.
“People have said it,” Musk said. tweets Just past midnight ET. “Accounts that doxxed my location will now have their suspension lifted.” Musk was referring to a poll he posted about when accounts he blocked would be reinstated. After nearly 3.7 million votes were cast, 59% of the votes were in favor of lifting the ban “now”, while the remainder voted for it to be lifted “in 7 days”. Musk similarly decided to reinstate Donald Trump’s account based on a poll last month after he claimed he was forming a committee with “different perspectives” to weigh the issues.
Musk’s banned reporters dispute his claims that they “doxxed” him. To some observers, the tech titan — as Twitter’s sole decision-maker — appeared to be trying to silence critics of his rule at the company.
“To be clear, there is no ‘human flesh search’ – not even by an impulsive oligarch who is accountable to no one,” said Tony Webster, a journalist and photographer whose account is One of the accounts suspended on Dec. 12. Tweeted Friday night, 16th. He cited his latest tweet before his suspension, which said: “If you were unwilling to admit that Elon Musk lied to you about his ‘free speech’ goals, you are now only denying.”
Recovered accounts as of Friday evening include independent journalist Aaron Rupar (@atrupar), Ryan Mac (@RMac18) of The New York Times, Drew Harwell (@drewharwell) of The Washington Post, Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) of CNN , Matt Binder (@MattBinder) of Mashable, Micah Lee (@micahflee) and Tony Webster (@webster) of The Intercept.
Twitter also on Friday reinstated the account of Mastodon (@joinmastodon), which posted a link to ElonJet’s account on its own service. Still on hold at press time were claims by political commentator Keith Olbermann.
Musk – who claims to be a “free speech absolutist” – suspended the accounts of these prominent journalists after he banned the @ElonJet account and other plane tracking bots on Wednesday, citing the need to ensure the safety of his family. Also on Wednesday, Twitter issued a new rule that prohibits accounts from sharing a person’s real-time location, even if the data is otherwise publicly available. Some of the suspended journalists’ accounts, which had tweeted about the jet tracker, linked to their new account on rival social network Mastodon.
Last month, Musk said Twitter would “amnesty” all suspended accounts and reinstate them (“provided they are not breaking the law or participating in egregious spam”). Among them was neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, founder of the white supremacist website Daily Stormer, who was banned from Twitter in 2013.
Rupar, after his account was restored, tweets“I want to thank everyone for all the support and kind words and some changes over the past day. I was very upset about being suspended at first, but quickly realized that it was okay because I am very lucky to have a great online community. Seriously, I’m so grateful. Cheers.”
Rupar previously told CNN that he has not tweeted anything about @ElonJet. He has been critical of Musk in tweets and reports.For example, on Dec. 8.15, Rupar tweeted, “Can’t wait for Twitter to ban Elon Musk for violating company policy just announced a few hours ago,” citing a video posted by Musk The clip, which shows a masked person in a car with exposed license plates, asks, “Anyone recognize this person or car?” Earlier, Musk said in a tweet that his 2-year-old son died on Tuesday. A car ride in Los Angeles at night ‘was tailgating’ [a] Crazy stalker (thought it was me), later stopped the car from moving and climbed onto the hood. “
Since closing the Twitter deal less than two months ago, Musk has restructured the company extensively. In addition to laying off 50% of Twitter’s workforce, he’s also trying to try to generate revenue from Twitter Blue by making paid services the only way to get a “verified” blue checkmark in the future.