Twitter CEO Elon Musk briefly joined a Twitter Spaces event featuring a reporter who asked him why he suspended his and other reporters’ accounts from the platform.
Musk responded by leaving.
On Thursday, Twitter suspended several journalists that Musk claimed doxxed him. “Doxxing” typically refers to the posting of a person’s private information online, usually with malicious intent. One of the suspended accounts belonged to Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell, who was in the aforementioned Twitter Space being hosted by BuzzFeed tech reporter Katie Notopoulos.
Despite being suspended, Harwell managed to join the event hosted on Twitter – possibly because his account was grandfathered into the Spaces feature via some loophole. Harwell disputed Musk’s doxxing allegation, which stems from an account Twitter suspended on Wednesday. That account was @elonjet, which tracked the travels of Musk’s private plane using data that is publicly available.
After purchasing Twitter in October, Musk, who pledged to make the platform safe for “free speech,” tweeted he would not ban @elonjet because, “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.”
He reversed course on Wednesday and banned the account, as well as the personal account of the 20-year-old who ran it. Musk seemingly threatened to sue him by declaring, that “legal action is being taken” against him.
As justification, the billionaire claimed a man followed a car in which his young son was traveling in Los Angeles near an airport impeded its movement, and climbed onto the roof. Musk tweeted a video featuring a man sitting in his car with his seatbelt on and asked his followers if they could identify the man. The video also featured the car’s license plate.
Notably, the Los Angeles Police Department said no one has filed a police report alleging such an incident.
In the Twitter Space event, Musk alleged the reporters suspended on Thursday had doxxed him by sharing links to another site that showed the movements of his private jet. At one point, he accused Harwell of posting a link to his address.
Here is the transcript of the exchange featuring Musk, Notopoulos, and Harwell:
MUSK: Well, as I’m sure everyone who’s been doxed and–would agree, you know, showing real-time information about somebody’s location is inappropriate. And I think everyone on this call would not like that to be done to them. And there’s not gonna be any distinction in the future between journalists – simple journalists – and regular people.
Everyone’s gonna be treated the same. You’re not special because you’re a journalist. You’re a citizen. So, no special treatment. You doxx, you get suspended. End of story.
MUSK: And ban evasion or trying to be clever about it like, “Oh, I posted a link to the real-time information” is obviously–that is obviously simply trying to evade the meaning. That is no different than actually showing realtime information.
NOTOPOULOS: So, when you’re saying posting a link to it, I mean, some of the people like Drew and Ryan Mac from the New York Times, who were banned, were, you know, they were reporting on it in the course of sort of pretty normal journalistic endeavors. You consider that like, a tricky attempted ban evasion?
MUSK: You show the link to the realtime information? Ban evasion, obviously.
NOTOPOULOS: Drew, I don’t think you were posting the realtime information, right?
HARWELL: I mean, you’re suggesting that we’re sharing your address, which is not true. And you’re suggesting that we’re posting–
MUSK: It is true.
HARWELL: We never, I never posted your address.
MUSK: You posted a link to the address.
HARWELL: We posted a link in the course of reporting about @elonjet. We posted links to @elonjet, which are not now online and now banned on Twitter. And Twitter of course also marks even Instagram and Mastodon accounts of ElonJet as harmful using, you know, we have to admit and acknowledge, using the exact same link-blocking technique that you have criticized as part of the Hunter Biden-New York Post story in 2020. So what is different here?
MUSK: It’s no more acceptable for you than it is for me. It’s the same thing. So, anyway–
HARWELL: So it’s unacceptable what you’re doing?
MUSK: No. You doxx, you get suspended. End of story. That’s it.
Those were Musk’s last words in the event, as Notopoulos noted that the Twitter CEO had bailed.
Listen above via Katie Notopoulos and Twitter Spaces.
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