Musk reinstates suspended journalists after Twitter poll

Several high-profile journalists who were suspended from Twitter Thursday night were reinstated early Saturday.

“The people have spoken” Elon Musk tweeted.

Twitter users voted to restore the accounts that were banned without warning in a poll published by Musk. The social media platform’s new owner recently used Twitter polls for several high-profile decisions, including restoring former President Donald Trump’s account.

The reports from The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, Mashable’s Matt Binder, The Intercept’s Micah Lee, Voice of America’s Steve Herman, and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann and Tony Webster were all suspended Thursday night.

“Matt Binder is back,” the Mashable journalist tweeted early Saturday.

Olbermann’s account was restored later on Saturday.

Linette Lopez, a Business Insider columnist whose bio on the news site says she is investigating “controversial companies – most recently Tesla,” was among the suspended journalists. She told MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Tonight that Twitter didn’t tell her why she was suspended. Her account remained suspended as of Saturday afternoon.

musk had said The bans would last for seven days, but early Saturday it said the “accounts that doxxed my location are now being unbanned”.

He has accused the journalists of leaking private information about his whereabouts, which he described as “essentially murder coordinates”. NBC News could not confirm this claim.

“You Doxx, you will be suspended. End of the story. That’s it,” Musk said in an audio discussion on Twitter Space Thursday night, explaining his latest policy to more than 30,000 listeners.

He was referring to Twitter’s recent rule change on accounts tracking private jets, including one by Musk, introduced on Wednesday.

Several of the suspended reporters had written about the new policy and Musk’s rationale for its introduction, which included his allegations of a stalking incident that he said affected his family in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

He tweeted Wednesday that a car containing one of his children was being pursued and prevented from moving by a driver who Musk said had climbed onto the hood of the car with his child inside.

The Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday that no police reports had been filed. Other law enforcement agencies also cover parts of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Musk said: “Any account doxxing real-time location information of anyone will be suspended as it is a breach of physical security. This includes posting links to websites with real-time location information.”

“Posting places that someone has traveled with a little delay isn’t a safety issue, so it’s fine,” Musk added.

However, the suspended accounts did not tweet the real-time location of the car Musk said his child was in. One of the suspended accounts, “@elonjet,” previously tweeted flight data showing the location of Musk’s private jet. Some of the suspended journalists had previously tweeted links to the account and other profiles of creator Jack Sweeney, whose private Twitter account was also suspended.

Flight data includes where a plane lands, but it doesn’t track a plane’s occupants outside of the plane itself, so it couldn’t be used to track the real-time location of Musk or his children when they’re not on board or in were near the aircraft.

The account for Mastodon, a platform that has become one of Twitter’s main competitors, was also suspended Thursday, and links to Mastodon and other autonomous, decentralized networks were blocked as “unsafe” links that could no longer be tweeted.

Thursday’s suspensions drew sharp criticism from free speech experts, and Musk cheerleaders and some conservative influencers joined in condemning the move.

Musk had vowed to run Twitter as a free speech absolutist, and since taking control he has restored accounts linked to the QAnon movement and other far-right groups, but banned others.

He has also removed critics of his policies from the company.

The Associated Press, David Ingram and Jason Abruzzese contributed.

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