Elon Musk’s Twitter Suspends Journalists Over Sharing Private Jet Tracker Links
Twitter on Thursday pulled its Twitter Spaces feature for group audio after suspending several journalists earlier in the day for reporting on or sharing links to Jack Sweeney’s banned @ElonJet account, which tracks and shares the location of Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk’s private jet in real time using publicly available data (via NBC News).
The move came after Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk joined a Spaces conversation hosted by BuzzFeed News reporter Katie Notopoulos that included some of the suspended journalists and had an audience of some 30,000 listeners.
Prior to joining Notopoulos’ Twitter Space, Musk said that the banned journalists were basically sharing “assassination coordinates,” which amounted to a “direct violation of Twitter terms of service.”
During the Spaces conversation, the participants asked Musk about his decisions. The celebrity billionaire said:
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 went on to say that journalists wouldn’t get special treatment on Twitter.
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 doxx, you get suspended, end of story.
According to Musk, Twitter has new rules that prohibit private jet trackers. That’s an about-face from comments Musk made back in October, when when he said he wouldn’t ban the @ElonJet account specifically because of his “commitment to free speech.”
Journalists suspended from Twitter on Thursday included The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Mashable’s Matt Binder, The Intercept‘s Micah Lee, Voice of America‘s Steve Herman, and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann, and Tony Webster.
Twitter has also banned the user account of rival social network Mastodon, along with (almost) all links to the platform for the same reasons.
“Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” reads a tweet currently pinned on Musk’s profile.
Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2022
Twitter users currently cannot start a new Space or join an existing one. When asked why Spaces were disabled, Musk told one Twitter user that the company was “fixing a legacy bug,” adding that the feature should be working again within a day.