Elon Musk reinstates Twitter accounts of suspended journalists

Elon Musk said on Friday Twitter would reinstate accounts belonging to several prominent journalists who had been suspended a day earlier.

On Thursday, several well known journalists who had been covering Musk and his Twitter takeover were abruptly suspended from the platform without a clear explanation.

On Wednesday, the company had suspended accounts run by college student Jack Sweeney – including one that tracked Musk’s private jet – and announced new privacy rules.

Musk said in a tweet after suspending the journalists accounts that the suspensions were related to the new policy. He said: “Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else.”

Following an outcry over the suspensions, Musk conducted a Twitter poll on Thursday asking his followers when he should “Unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time.” Options given were “Now” or “In 7 days.”

On Friday, nearly 59% of poll respondents voted “Now.”

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

Following the suspensions, both the EU and the UN voiced their objections.

Vera Journova, vice president of Values and Transparency in the EU Commission, even threatened sanctions against Twitter, citing the EU’s Digital Services Act which passed in November and will go into effect in 2023.

“News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying. EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our #MediaFreedomAct,” Journova tweeted.

She went on to say “@elonmusk should be aware of that. There are red lines. And sanctions, soon.”

The United Nations joined the European Union in condemning Twitter’s decision to suspend the journalists and tweeted that media freedom is “not a toy”.

Melissa Fleming, the UN’s under secretary general for global communications, said she was “deeply disturbed” by reports that journalists were being “arbitrarily” suspended from Twitter.

“Media freedom is not a toy,” she said. “A free press is the cornerstone of democratic societies and a key tool in the fight against harmful disinformation.”

The accounts suspended from the platform were those of Ryan Mac from the New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan from CNN, Drew Harwell from The Washington Post, political commentator Keith Olbermann, journalist Tony Webster, Micah Flee from The Intercept, Steve Herman from the Voice of America, journalist Aaron Rupar, and Mashable reporter Matt Binder.