Elon Musk reinstates suspended journalists on Twitter after a backlash

By Juliana Kim

David Odisho
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Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on Nov. 4. The United Nations and the European Union are among the groups that have condemned Elon Musk’s decision to suspend several journalists from the social media platform.

Amid intense backlash and accusations of violating press freedom, Twitter has reinstated the accounts of several journalists who were suspended earlier this week, though at least one remains suspended.

On Thursday night, the social media platform suspended several reporters who had tweeted or written about Elon Musk’s ownership of the company.

The accounts that went dark included Donie O’Sullivan of CNN; Ryan Mac of The New York Times; Drew Harwell of The Washington Post; Micah Lee of The Intercept; and journalist Aaron Rupar.

On Friday evening, Musk put the decision of whether to reinstate suspended accounts up for a public vote. He tweeted an informal poll which asked Twitter users to choose when to “unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time.”

According to the poll, 58.7% of voters favored lifting the suspensions immediately over 41.3% of respondents who said Musk should wait seven more days.

Rupar, whose account was reinstated on Friday, said the suspensions signaled Twitter’s instability.

“It’s a clear illustration that it is no longer a rules-based company,” Rupar told NPR. “It’s basically a company based on Elon Musk’s whims and the terms of service depend on his mood each day.”

Joan Donovan, the research director at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, thinks this week’s spree of suspensions is only the beginning.

“The way Musk is targeting particular mainstream journalists, I think we’re going to see more of these shenanigans, and not less, over the next couple of months,” she told NPR’s Michel Martin on All Things Considered.

Linette Lopez, a Business Insider reporter who previously covered Musk, said her account was suspended on Friday after she tweeted court documents that revealed Musk had hacked and doxxed people in the past.

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