U.S. and international officials condemned Twitter and Elon Musk on Friday after the social media company abruptly suspended several U.S. journalists, expressing concern about retaliation and the potentially chilling effect on free speech.
The moves invited sharp rebuke from public officials at the European Commission and the United Nations, as well as criticism from a U.S. senator. Even some of Musk’s own supporters, who advocate a broad interpretation of free speech, appeared taken aback by the about turn.
The fate of the accounts — which Musk has said were suspended for posting location data in violation of new rules — could be resolved by late Friday, when a Twitter poll that he launched on reinstating them immediately or in seven days was scheduled to conclude. The unscientific poll so far is leaning toward reinstating the accounts immediately, although it was unclear if Musk would do so considering he scrapped the results of a similar poll the night before. He has previously restored accounts following such polls.
Accounts that were suspended include @ElonJet, which tracks the location of Musk’s private plane through the use of publicly available data, as well as other accounts that track helicopter and plane locations. Twitter suspended the accounts of several journalists on Thursday night, including from The Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN.
Musk later accused the reporters of posting “basically assassination coordinates” for him and his family — although he provided no evidence that any of the journalists had done so. [Continue reading…]