In response to the 7-day suspension of one of their reporters, CNN said that the network would "reevaluate" their relationship with Twitter, and The New York Times, which celebrated the Twitter banning of then-sitting President Donald Trump, claimed the accounts were suspended for political reasons.
"The impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN's Donie O'Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising. Twitter's increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses Twitter. We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response," CNN wrote with concern.
The New York Times issued its missive on the 7-day suspensions, saying "Tonight's suspension of the Twitter accounts of a number of prominent journalists, including The New York Times's Ryan Mac, is questionable and unfortunate. Neither The Times nor Ryan have received any explanation about why this occured. We hope that all of the journalists' accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for this action."
Speaking on CNN, Oliver Darcy complained that the move by Twitter to prevent the sharing of real-time location information of others was an afront to the free press. "I think this raises a big question," Darcy said, "about the free press, what the future of the free press is on Twitter looks like. Are news organizations going to stand by as the reporters are, y'know, just hastily banned and without explanation?"
Musk said that the account suspensions were for doxxing. "They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service," Musk said. One Twitter account that was suspended had been tracking his private jet in real-time. On Wednesday, Musk reported that the car his child was riding in was stalked and targeted.
Darcy read CNN’s statement on air before offering his view on the matter, saying "I think Twitter really needs, or really relies on, news. I mean that’s kind of the life blood of Twitter." The roundtable of pundits and journalists all agreed that journalists are really important.
The New York Times wrote about the suspensions of journalists from Twitter, claiming that the platform said the journalists were in violation of Twitter rules, no details were given, despite the messages from Musk about the concerns over doxxing. The Times noted that "Some of the journalists whose accounts were suspended had written about the accounts that tracked the private planes or had tweeted about those accounts," but then inferred that there could be a subreason for the bans, notably that the accounts had "been critical of Mr. Musk and his ownership of Twitter."
In contrast, the Times wrote with favor about the banning of some 70,000 accounts of Trump supporters and those perceived to have been boosting so-called conspiracy theories. Twitter, the Times claimed, contended that the posts had "the potential to lead to offline harm."
At the time of those bans in January 2021, Twitter said that "These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service." They praised Twitter's banning of Trump.
"Social media companies have rushed to distance themselves from the violent mob attack at the Capitol building last week, which Mr. Trump had stoked in social media posts and public comments. After the rampage, Twitter and Facebook locked Mr. Trump’s accounts, before ultimately barring him from their services and cutting off the president’s megaphones," The Times wrote.
At the time of Trump's ban, the Times wrote that "critics and even some allies of the social media companies said they had failed to prevent the misinformation that led to chaos on Wednesday," January 6, 2021.
Under the old rules, Libs of TikTok, which reports on gender identity using the words of leftist activists, was suspended at least 8 times despite not violating any policy at all. This was revealed in a drop of the Twitter Files, which showed that Twitter moderators flagged the account and consistently restricted it for violations of the "hateful conduct" policy, despite no violations of that policy having been recorded.
Charlie Kirk was placed on a "do not amplify" list and there was absolutely no transparency regarding his blacklisting on the site. "The media is now labeling Twitter as 'volatile and unstable,'" he wrote. "Ridiculous. Within minutes of being suspended for doxxing, the CEO let the whole world know who and why. I was Blacklisted and placed on a 'Do Not Amplify' list for over two years, and no one even told me."
For context, under Twitter's previous leadership, the platform banned journalists for "misgendering," which is referring to someone by their biological sex as opposed to their gender identity. Christian satirical site The Babylon Bee was locked out of their account for saying that President Biden's trans diversity hire, Dr. Rachel Levine, is a biological male, which Levine is. Former Twitter head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth said in November that the Babylon Bee's correctly identifying Levine's biological sex was "dangerous."
Fox News host Tucker Carlson made the same assertion, and was also locked out, as well as conservative pundit Charlie Kirk for the same crime, and that was only a few of the many. Canadian feminist journalist Meghan Murphy was permanently banned for referring to a biological male as "him" in 2018, and was only recently allowed back on the platform.
Tara Reade, who previously accused Joe Biden of sexual assault and watched as liberal media proponents of the Believe All Women and Me Too movements discounted her claims while bolstering their top choice for president, commented on the temporary suspensions.
"I notice a few reporters ( more stenographers for the empire) are whining about being suspended. In 2020, the @nytimes printed my social security number after I came forward about Biden. Relentless doxxing and death threats ensued. @elonmusk tear all their lies down. Expose it," she wrote.
Twitter's current head of Trust and Safety, Ella Irwin, said that "Without commenting on any specific accounts, I can confirm that we will suspend any accounts that violate our privacy policies and put other users at risk."
A new policy update stated that violations of privacy will not be tolerated. "We don’t make exceptions to this policy for journalists or any other accounts," it reads. Musk made these same assertions in a Twitter Space with journalists on Thursday.
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