The social networking site Twitter has suspended the accounts of several journalists in the United States for allegedly “doxxing” real-time updates of owner Elon Musk’s private jet.
Numerous Twitter accounts, including those of CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, Mashable’s Matt Binder, and independent journalist Aaron Rupar, were permanently suspended without prior notice.
While some speculate that this is due to the journalists’ critical reports on Twitter’s decision to ban the @ElonJet account, which tracks Musk’s private jet, the social media company has remained silent on the matter.
Musk, on the other hand, was quoted to have said in a Twitter space conversation with Harwell and Binder “You dox, you get suspended. End of story, that’s it,” he said before leaving.
In a Twitter thread on his account, Musk also said: “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”
Doxxing is defined by Merriam-Webster as “to publicly identify or publish private information about (someone), especially as a form of punishment or revenge.”
Following the backlash, Musk launched a Twitter poll, asking netizens whether he should “un-suspend” the journalists who tweeted about @ElonJet.
The response was 43% of Twitter users who participated told him the poll to un-suspend “Now.”
Musk, citing the poll’s “too many options,” launched a new poll that will run for 24 hours. Around 58% voted “Now” while the remaining 42% voted to un-suspend the accounts “after 7 days”.
The New York Times spokesperson Charlie Stadtlander issued a statement noting that Twitter’s decision was “questionable and unfortunate.”
He said further that “neither The Times nor Ryan Mac has received any explanation about why this occurred.”
“We hope that all of the journalists’ accounts are restored and that Twitter provides an adequate explanation for this action,” Stadtlander said.
CNN also issued a statement in which it referred to O’Sullivan’s suspension as “concerning but not surprising” and offered to “reevaluate” its partnership with Twitter based on the explanation it gets for the ban.