Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz was suspended from Twitter on Saturday after asking Twitter CEO Elon Musk for comment on a story.
Lorenz says she and her colleague, Drew Harwell, publicly tweeted at Musk for an interview after they’d been unable to get in contact with him throughout the week. She later opened Twitter to see a message that said she was “permanently suspended” (though her account has already been restored as of Sunday.)
“The arbitrary suspension of another Post journalist further undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech,” said Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee in a statement. “Again, the suspension occurred with no warning, process or explanation — this time as our reporter merely sought comment from Musk for a story. Post journalists should be reinstated immediately, without arbitrary conditions.”
Musk, who tweeted his hope that” even [his] worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” has been under fire after the social media site temporarily suspended several journalists, which Musk claims put his family at risk, on Dec. 15.
The banned accounts were from journalists covering Twitter’s permanent suspension of the account @elonjet, which tracked Musk’s private jet flights using publicly available data. The Twitter CEO explained the decision in a series of tweets that indicate a stalker followed a car carrying his son, and later blocked the car from moving and climbed onto the hood.
Harwell had his account temporarily suspended on Dec. 15 after tweeting that Twitter suspended their competitor Mastodon’s account because it linked to their website’s version of @ElonJet two days after its permanent ban, according to the LA Times. Other reporters were banned after they shared the Los Angeles Police Department’s statement that no crime reports were filed by Musk after the alleged stalking situation.
Since the incident, the suspended accounts of journalists from the New York Times, Voice of America and more have been restored after Musk used a Twitter poll on Saturday to ask the public when the journalists’ account should be restored. The option “now” won the poll.
On Sunday Twitter announced notable changes to the platform’s terms of service that bans users from promoting other social media platforms on Twitter. People won’t be able to promote content that contains links or usernames for accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr, and Post. Violation of the policy could result in punishments ranging from required deletion of tweets to temporarily locking an account.
Earlier this week, Twitter also changed its rules to prohibit the sharing of another person’s current location without consent.
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