through Elon Musk‘s whirlwind Twitter ordeal, he alluded to an apparent paranoia that he could be killed at any moment. In May, shortly after he first agreed to buy the company, he said tweeted“If I die under mysterious circumstances, it was nice knowing you.” He doubled down on that suggestion this month, saying there was a “substantial” chance he would be an assassination target and that he was in a foul “suicide.” “-conspiracy could die.
As of Thursday night, that seeming fixation on untimely death became his primary justification for banning the Twitter accounts of several high-profile mainstream journalists, including those of CNN Donie O’Sullivan, That New York Times‘ Ryan Mac, and That Washington Post‘s Drew Harwell. musk accused the tech reporters sharing “my precise real-time location, basically the coordinates of the assassination.” Keith Olberman, Mashables Matt Binder, The intercepts Micah Lee, Voice of America Steve Herman, and Aaron Rupar were among the other prominent pundits, reporters and popular Twitter users who were suspended last night.
The suspensions were largely rooted in journalists’ coverage of the now-banned @ElonJet, a Twitter account that used publicly available flight records to update followers on where Musk’s private jet was flying. Harwell’s last tweet before the suspension was a message that Twitter had also suspended his competitor Mastodon’s account for tweeting a link to @ElonJet’s version of his own social media site. The reporter included a screenshot of the Mastodon tweet and added a slight jab at Musk’s change of heart regarding social media censorship, writing, “I love free speech.” Olbermann was subsequently suspended call up User to tweet the same message as Harwell’s last tweet. Meanwhile, Rupar, who published a newsletter critical of Musk, admitted he had also posted about @ElonJet, noting that it was still active on Facebook.
While these tweets did not reveal the location of Musk’s jet, merely reporting on the new content moderation associated with the @ElonJet account was counted as a violation. “Criticizing myself all day is perfectly fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family isn’t.” wrote Musk on Thursday. Per Judd Legum, who writes the newsletter “Popular Information”, the link Rupar was given appeal, his suspension was broken.
Not surprisingly, news outlets criticized Twitter for the suspensions. A spokesman for Times said the decision to ban Mac was “questionable and unfortunate.” A CNN spokesperson responded by noting that given the “impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters,” the network might reassess its relationship with the platform, adding that “Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility is incredibly worrying for all.” should be of great importance uses Twitter.”
Musk polled his supporters late Thursday night — the same strategy he used to decide whether to reinstate him donald trump‘s account – when they felt the accounts should be restored. He gave the options of “now”, “tomorrow”, “in 7 days” or “longer” before adding: “If someone has posted real-time locations and addresses of NYT Reporters, the FBI would investigate, there would be hearings on Capitol Hill, and Biden would make speeches about the end of democracy!”
While it was obviously naïve to think that Musk would rule Twitter as the “free speech absolutist” he had promised, the suspensions still came as a surprise to many and marked a massive shift in the way the platform dealt with journalists critical of its owner to report.
In a Twitter Space Thursday night, the platform’s audio chat room, Musk spoke to a number of journalists confused by the moves, including Harwell, who was still able to appear at the Space despite his suspension. “You’re suggesting we share your address, which isn’t true,” Harwell said, to which Musk silly replied, “You posted a link to the address.” Harwell went on to explain that he only shared a link to the @ElonJet page not the location information propagated by the account. Musk then ended the conversation abruptly.
Not long after the call, Twitter shut down its Spaces feature entirely — a temporary measure, Musk said, caused by maintenance of an “old bug.” He didn’t elaborate, but BuzzFeed tech reporters did Katie Notopoulos, that hosted the space in question learned of at least one relevant bug early Friday morning. “Someone told me that the reason banned accounts can still join Spaces is because this feature builds on top of the old Periscope backend, and when an account is old enough to surpass Periscope, it treats it as one separate account from Twitter.” tweeted Notopoulos.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/12/elon-musk-assassinated-censors-twitter Elon Musk apparently obsessed with the idea that he might be assassinated, according to the censorship press on Twitter