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Elon Musk suspends journalists’ accounts from Twitter, abruptly discontinues Spaces feature

Updated Dec 21st, 2022 1:24PM EST
Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Image: Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency

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After firing more than half of Twitter’s staff, changing its policy, and creating chaos almost every day since November, Elon Musk decided to start suspending journalists’ accounts that would report or even link to an account that showed where the billionaire would be flying in his private jet.

The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Mashable’s Matt Binder, and independent journalists Aaron Rupar and Tony Webster are among the media professionals suspended by Twitter as they “violate” the company rules.

Billionaire Elon Musk accuses them of sharing his real-time location and that of his family using a bot that follows Musk’s jet. A couple of days ago, before suspensions started, he wrote on his account:

Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.

Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety proble, so is ok.

The billionaire also suspended Mastodon’s account due to the same rules.

Farewell, Twitter Spaces

Last evening, while Musk decided to ban these accounts, he joined a Twitter Space with journalists talking about these “doxxing rules.” Different from the audience he’s used to, the journalists started asking him about his decisions, which the billionaire couldn’t properly respond, as Gizmodo reported some of his quotes:

“As I’m sure everyone who’s been doxxed would agree, drawing real-time information about somebody’s location is inappropriate and I think everyone on this call would not like that to be done to them. And there’s not going to be any distinction in the future between journalists, so-called journalists, and regular people. Everyone’s going to be treated the same,” Musk said.

The billionaire continued:

“They’re not special because you’re a journalist. You’re a Twitter… you’re a… you’re a citizen. So, no special treatment. You dox, you get suspended, end of story.”

Since talking wasn’t Musk’s greatest skill, he decided to shut down Twitter Spaces for good. If you try to use this feature, you’ll see it’s nowhere to be found (Update: Spaces has now been restored).

Elon Musk making fun on Twitter is his go-to modus operandi

While one could think that Elon Musk was desperate, as he started to suspend accounts and end services, he decided to be the funny guy on his Twitter account by asking his followers whether he should unsuspend journalists or ban them for good in two different polls, as the first one didn’t get the results he was expecting.

Once again, in his replies, the billionaire points out that all of this fuss is to make Twitter relevant, make people talk about the platform, and engage with him, as he said Twitter was “on fire” and laughing about a tweet claiming that journalist Aaron Rupar was talking about his “time being suspended [from Twitter] like he’s Nelson Mandela.”

Last but not least, Musk pinned on his profile that “criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.” After that, he probably went to sleep.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.