Elon Musk then started lifting the suspensions of some journalists on Twitter rerun a poll asking if he should “unlist accounts that have doxxed my exact location in real time.” (The journalists didn’t reveal his real-time location.) Of the two polling options, “now” won with 58.7 percent of the response, beating it “in 7 days.” There were nearly 3.7 million responses to the poll.
Journalists of various media, including The New York TimesCNN, NBC, The interception, and more, had their accounts suspended on Thursday, most of them after tweeting about @ElonJet, a Twitter account that tracks the SpaceX private jet Elon Musk uses based on publicly available FAA flight tracking data. The ElonJet account was suspended from Twitter prior to the attack on the other accounts, but survives on other platforms (which may be why you can’t tweet a link to many instances of Mastodon, a decentralized Twitter alternative).
At the time of writing, the accounts of CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York TimesRyan Mac, Mashable‘s Matt Binder, and The Washington PostDrew Harwell’s were again visible on the platform. Other accounts, such as those of Linette Lopez, Micah Lee, as well as @ElonJet and @JoinMastodon, remained suspended. Musk has announced that “accounts that have doxxed my location will now have their suspension lifted.”
This week, Twitter updated its policy to prohibit the sharing of “live location information” and “links to third-party travel route URL(s).
At the time the journalists were suspended, Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, said The edgeTo: “We make no exceptions to this policy for journalists or other accounts.” Musk also made his feelings on the matter clear with the language of his poll, and through several to follow–upwards tweet. He also suggested that the flight tracker had a connection to a “mad stalker” who encountered a car carrying one of his children, and that the person “blocked the car and climbed on the hood”. However, the LAPD says no crime report has been filed on such an incident, the Los Angeles Times.
After the suspensions, Musk conducted a 30-minute poll asking when he should suspend the journalists. “Now” also won that poll, getting 43 percent of the response, but Musk said he would do it again because it had “too many options.”
On Thursday, Musk also attended a Twitter Space hosted by Buzzfeed newsKatie Notopoulos, who was also attended by some of the suspended journalists, who were apparently allowed to participate due to a technical problem. Before leaving the conversation, Musk said, “You dox, you’re getting suspended. End of story, that’s it.” Twitter later disabled the Spaces feature While it has since reinstated Notopoulos says she can’t start or join Spacereceiving a message saying “you can’t join or go live because you broke Twitter rules” when she tries.
Hours before the poll was completed and accounts were restored, Musk declared today “Freedom Friday” in response to former congressional candidate Lavern Spicer’s comment that accounts were being restored at an accelerating pace. Several prominent right-wing far-right figures were not suspended on Friday, including MyPillow founder Mike Lindell and Gateway experts editor Jim Hoft, as noticed by Shayan Sardarizadeh, a reporter for the BBC. This appears to be part of Musk fulfilling his promise to give most previously suspended accounts “general amnesty”, which he also claims happens as a result of the results of a poll.
On Friday night, the Twitter Safety account tweeted that the company had “identified several policies where permanent suspension was a disproportionate action for violating Twitter rules” and that it would reinstate accounts weekly over the next 30 days. It’s unclear if the tweet was an announcement regarding Musk’s general amnesty poll, or the people banned under the new live tracking policy. Musk said that there is a “7 day suspension for doxxing”, although some people affected by ElonJet’s suspensions posted screenshots of the Twitter UI saying they were permanently suspended.