Musk acts on poll, lifts journalists’ Twitter suspensions

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Musk acts on poll, lifts journalists' Twitter suspensions

(NewsNation) — Elon Musk reinstated Twitter access of some journalists on Friday, one day after he conducted a poll asking people when the suspensions for the affected accounts should be lifted.

The journalists’ accounts were suspended Thursday after Musk said they violated Twitter’s terms of service by “doxxing” him and revealing his real-time location. Some of the journalists had linked or posted screenshots to the link of a Mastodon social media account that tracks flight information of his private jet using publicly available data.

After the suspensions, Musk said anybody violating the policy against doxxing would get a seven-day temporary suspension. He put the issue before his followers, first conducting a poll asking if the accounts should be reinstated “now” (Thursday night), on Friday, in seven days or after a longer period.

Saying the first poll had too many options, it was closed while “now” was leading with 43% of the vote, and Musk then posted a new poll with only two options: “now” or “in 7 days.” He set a 24-hour voting period, and the “now” option won with 59% of the vote.

“The people have spoken,” Musk tweeted Friday night. “Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now.”

Journalists who were suspended included CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, the Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and The New York Times’ Ryan Mac.

The sudden suspension of news reporters followed Musk’s decision Wednesday to permanently ban an account that automatically tracked the flights of his private jet using publicly available data. That also led Twitter to change its rules for all users to prohibit the sharing of another person’s current location without their consent.

Several of the reporters suspended Thursday night had been writing about the new policy and Musk’s rationale for imposing it, which involved his allegations about a stalking incident he said affected his family on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

The official account for Mastodon, a decentralized social network billed as an alternative to Twitter, was also banned. The reason was unclear, though it had tweeted about the jet tracking account.

“Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” Musk tweeted Thursday. He later added: “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”

Doxxing refers to disclosing online someone’s identity, address, or other personal details.

Later Thursday night, Musk joined a Twitter Spaces that was being hosted by Buzzfeed News journalist Katie Notopoulos. He reiterated his claims that the journalists Twitter banned were doxxing him when they were reporting on the jet tracking accounts being banned.

“There is not special treatment for journalists,” Musk said, after being asked by Harwell if he had a connection between the stalking incident and posting of real-time information.

Matt Binder, a journalist for Mashable who was suspended, replied to Musk’s Tweet on Friday after he was reinstated, using a Latin phrase Musk has repeatedly used to promote free speech principles.

“The people have spoken. Matt Binder has been reinstated,” the journalist said. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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