Some of Elon Musk’s biggest cheerleaders, alongside some conservative influencers, condemn Twitter’s decision on Thursday to suspend several well-known journalists who have covered Musk in outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN.
“In short, I’m against Twitter suspensions,” conservative podcast host Ben Shapiro tweeted on Friday, in a thread that also attempted to equate the suspensions to content moderation decisions that predated the takeover of Twitter. Musk. Shapiro has been a vocal supporter of Musk since he started the Twitter takeover process.
On Thursday, the Twitter accounts of at least nine journalists and a left-wing political expert were suspended. An anti-fascist and anarchist media account was also cancelled. The account of Mastodon, a platform that has become one of Twitter’s main competitors, was also suspended, and links to Mastodon and other autonomous and decentralized networks were blocked as “dangerous” links that could no longer be tweeted. Some of the suspensions were initially communicated as permanent, but Musk later said in a tweet that they would be for seven days.
Since Musk became the CEO of Twitter, more than a dozen personalities left accountsincluding independent journalists, anti-fascist and anarchist media accounts, have been suspended, while previously suspended right-wing accounts, including neo-Nazi platform founder Daily Stormer and white nationalist Laura Loomer, have been reinstated.
“The old regime of Twitter was ruled by its own whims and biases and it sure looks like the new regime has the same problem,” right-wing writer Bari Weiss tweeted on Friday. “I oppose it either way. And I think journalists who were covering a story of public importance should be reinstated.
Weiss was among a handful of reporters Musk had commissioned days earlier to report on what they said was Twitter’s old left-wing bias. The group has posted lengthy threads called “The Twitter Files,” with email correspondence and internal documents related to some of Twitter’s controversial moderation decisions before Musk’s acquisition, including the decision to block temporarily links to a New York Post article on Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Musk responded to Weiss’ criticism in a tweet saying she was “signalling virtue.”
Jason Miller, chief spokesman for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and CEO of the conservative-leaning alternative social media platform Gettr, told NBC News he disagreed with the calling some of the suspended account holders “journalists”, given their political leanings.
“The banning of other names is problematic, however,” Miller, who was recently musk review, said. “Freedom of the press is essential to a free society.”
The bans have added to the jitters of some people investing in and celebrating Tesla, the electric carmaker of which Musk is CEO. Tesla’s share price fell 4.7% on Friday to its lowest level in 52 weeks for the year, and some investors took to Twitter to urge Musk to refocus his attention.
“I’m a @Tesla investor and I want @elonmusk out of @Twitter,” Joe Cirincione, National Security Analyst, wrote on Twitter. “My stock value has been halved since he decided to take over this platform. I love my Model 3, but he’s killing the business with his antics.
Ross Gerber, a longtime supporter of the automaker, said he wants Tesla’s board to act.
“Elon has now wiped $600 billion worth of tesla wealth and still nothing from the Tesla board. This is totally unacceptable,” Gerber tweeted Friday.
Musk responded to Gerber on Twitter, blaming the stock price plunge on interest rate decisions.
“Tesla works better than ever! ” he said. “We don’t control the Federal Reserve. That’s the real problem here. »
According to Musk, Thursday’s suspensions were tied to new rules about sharing real-time location information, which he linked to an alleged harassment incident.
On Wednesday, Musk tweeted that a car with one of his children was tracked and stopped from moving by the driver, who Musk said had climbed onto the hood of the car with his child in it. Musk also tweeted a video featuring the car’s license plate and the person he says followed the car with his child.
Musk said: “Any account doxxing anyone’s real-time location information will be suspended as it is a breach of physical security. This includes posting links to sites containing real-time location information. real.
“Showing places someone has been to with a slight delay is not a security concern, so that’s fine,” Musk added.
The accounts that were suspended, however, did not tweet the real-time location of the car Musk said his child was in. One of the banned accounts, “@elonjet”, had previously tweeted flight data showing the location of Musk’s private jet. Some of the banned journalists had previously tweeted links to the account and other profiles run by creator Jack Sweeney, whose personal Twitter account was also suspended. On Wednesday, Musk tweeted that legal action would be taken against Sweeney.
Flight data includes where a plane lands, but it does not track the occupants of a plane outside of the plane itself, so it could not be used to trace the real-time location of Musk or his children if they weren’t on or near the plane.
“Even if it’s ‘doxing’, the bans seem arbitrary and excessive,” journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has also challenged left-wing bias, tweeted on Friday. Greenwald has recently defended Musk, which has drawn criticism from Democratic lawmakers.
In an email to NBC News, Greenwald added that any new Twitter rules should be clearly defined and applied consistently.
“My concern is that if Musk is going to ban or punish accounts based on his whims and the arbitrary application of unclear rules, then he will end up replicating rather than uprooting the pre-Musk censorship regime that has been hailed for years by Democrats and liberal media companies,” he wrote.
Andrew Torba, founder of far-right social platform Gab, also criticized Musk and touted his company as an alternative to Twitter.
“Elon is once again ‘leader’ with his emotions and treats Twitter not like a commodity, not like an essential and vital publishing utility to the whole world, but like a plaything, and controlled by a petulant child to boot” , wrote Torba. in a blog post on Friday.
Christopher Rufo, who has waged “conservative pressure campaigns” against venues hosting drag performances and forbidden musktweeted, “Doxxing should be banned” but “it should be a clear policy, not a changing standard”.
“Arbitrary enforcement was bad before and it is bad now,” Rufo wrote.