A slew of prominent journalists were suspended from Twitter on Thursday afternoon
New York Times reporter Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, Mashable’s Matt Binder, CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, and independent journalist Aaron Rupar were removed from the platform in a late afternoon purge. The removed accounts shared a common thread of critical coverage of Musk and his management and policy decisions following his October takeover of Twitter.
Also removed from twitter was an account run by freelance journalist Tony Webster, who shared on Mastodon, that he was booted from his account with no warning. “My Twitter account has been suspended,” he wrote with a screenshot of his suspended account. “I’ve received no explanation.”
The slew of bans comes on the heels of a controversial decision by musk to ban software developer Jack Sweeney, who created various Twitter accounts that tracked the flights of private jets and celebrity aircraft via various twitter accounts under his stewardship.
In a retroactive change to Twitter’s content moderation policy, Musk announced that any instances of posting real time location data would be treated as a form of doxxing, and result in a suspension of the account. Musk attempted to link Sweeney’s flight tracking data project to an incident in which an individual followed a car carrying his son. No evidence has come to light that the individual was motivated by or gathered information from Sweeney’s account, nevertheless Musk threatened legal action against him.
As celebrities and every day users wave Twitter goodbye amid the drastic changes, Musk (whose reported affinity for booting accounts who annoy him is now a regular theme) suspended competitor Mastodon’s Twitter account. The move is in marked contrast to Musk’s stance as a “free speech absolutist” who has frequently tweeted like-minded catchphrases like “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” and “Transparency is the key to trust,” yet doesn’t share those same beliefs when it comes to his own decisions at Twitter.
This story is being updated.