About two months have passed since Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase. Many decisions by the new owner have been criticized since then. Now there is trouble again: late Thursday, the Twitter accounts of several US journalists were blocked. Employees of well-known newspapers such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, the British-American news site Mashable and the US news channel CNN are affected. Those affected were told that they had violated Twitter’s “doxxing” guidelines. This was only changed on Wednesday.
Journalists have been accused of “doxxing” – sharing other people’s location data
Accordingly, no current location data of a person may be shared on the short message service without their consent. Before the change came into effect, Musk had already announced that he would permanently ban all accounts that reported on his private jet’s flights.
“Any account posting someone’s real-time location data will be banned as a breach of physical security,” Musk tweeted. “This includes posting links to websites with real-time location information. Posting places someone has traveled to with a slight delay is not a safety issue, so it’s okay.”
Musk family apparently threatened by stalker
The 51-year-old gave the reason for this decision in another tweet: According to this, his car had been followed by a stalker the day before. The perpetrator prevented the car, in which Musk’s two-year-old son X AE A-XII Musk was sitting, from continuing by climbing on the hood. Legal action will now be taken against the perpetrator.
“Criticizing me all day is totally fine”
Several of the reporters, whose accounts have since been suspended, had reported on the policy changes and the stalking incident. Musk dedicated another tweet to them: “Criticizing me all day is totally fine, but posting my whereabouts in real time and endangering my family is not.”
The decision to block journalists is nevertheless criticized: The “impulsive and unjustified blocking of a number of reporters” is “worrying but not surprising”, according to a statement by CNN, which can be found on Twitter: “The increasing instability and volatility of Twitter should be a major concern for all users of the platform.” The broadcaster asked Twitter for an explanation and will reassess the relationship with the group based on this.
Criticism from German journalists
Criticism has also rained down from German journalists – especially in connection with the release of previously blocked accounts such as Donald Trump’s. Daniel Ziegler, who is an editor at the IT magazine “Golem”, tweeted: “Elon Musk describes himself as a free speech absolutist. Since he has heard of Twitter, it has become clear where he draws the line of freedom of expression: only with himself.” Meanwhile, the German Association of Journalists (DJV) asks its followers “whether Twitter is still the right place for journalists and for independent journalism”.