(FILES) The Twitter logo can be seen on the exterior of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, California in this file photo taken on October 28, 2022. – An organized trolling campaign that tweeted insults tens of thousands of times tested Twitter’s moderation policies after the platform was acquired by billionaire Elon Musk, its security chief said on Oct. 29, 2022, adding that the rules “haven’t changed.” . (Photo by Constanza HEVIA / AFP)
Some of the journalists had tweeted about Twitter shutting down an @ElonJet account that tracked flights of the billionaire’s private jet and versions of that account hosted on other social networks.
Twitter did not say why the reporters’ accounts were suspended.
“Nothing says freedom of speech like the suspension of journalists covering you,” said Sarah Reese Jones of news commentary website PoliticusUSA in a tweeted response to posts about the suspensions.
Twitter checks revealed account suspensions, including reporters from CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as independent journalists.
Twitter rival Mastodon’s account has also been suspended, according to a report by NBCNews.
Musk tweeted Wednesday that a Los Angeles car carrying one of his children was being followed by “a maniac stalker” and appeared to blame the pursuit of his jet for the alleged incident. In the tweet, he said legal action would be taken against the person running ElonJet.
The Twitter account that tracked flights from Musk’s private jet was shut down on Wednesday, despite the billionaire’s testimony that he was an outspoken supporter of free speech.
“Well it seems @ElonJet is banned,” creator Jack Sweeney tweeted from his personal @JxckSweeney account, which was subsequently also banned.
Twitter later said it had updated its policy to ban tweets from revealing a person’s real-time location in most cases.
“Any account doxxing real-time location information of anyone will be banned as a physical security breach,” Musk said in a tweet.
“This includes posting links to websites with real-time location information.”
Doxxing refers to the online disclosure of identifying information, such as a home address or phone number, usually to target someone for abuse.
Tweets sharing someone’s location that are “not on the same day” are allowed under the adjusted policy, as are posts about attending a public event like a concert, Twitter said.
Sweeney drew attention with his Twitter account tracking the movements of Musk’s plane, even turning down Musk’s $5,000 offer to shut down @ElonJet, which had hundreds of thousands of followers.
Musk had gone public and said he would not touch the account after buying Twitter in a $44 billion deal as part of his commitment to freedom of expression on the platform.
Flight-tracking websites and several Twitter accounts offer real-time views of air traffic, but this exposure draws opposition ranging from complaints to equipment confiscations.
US regulations require aircraft in certain areas to be equipped with ADS-B technology, which broadcasts aircraft positions using signals that relatively simple devices can pick up.
© Agence France-Presse