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Musk Bans Washington Post Journalist Taylor Lorenz From Twitter — Blaming ‘Prior Doxxing’ Behavior

Musk Bans Washington Post Journalist Taylor Lorenz From Twitter — Blaming ‘Prior Doxxing’ Behavior

Topline

Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz’s Twitter account was suspended on Saturday evening after she tweeted at the platform’s owner and CEO Elon Musk asking for a comment on a story, a move that comes a day after Musk reinstated the accounts of several other reporters who had been controversially suspended.

FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk has shutdown the Twitter accounts of journalists who he deems are in violation … [+] of his “doxxing” policy.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Key Facts

Responding to a question about Lorenz’s suspension, Musk claimed it was a temporary action, vaguely adding it was due to “prior doxxing action” without providing any details.

In a Substack postLorenz said she was kicked off Twitter after tweeting at Musk seeking comment on a news story she and her colleague Drew Harwell had been working on.

Lorenz said she received “zero communication” from Twitter about the reason behind her suspension and what terms she had violated.

Harwell was one of the journalists whose account had been suspended by Twitter on Thursday after Musk claimed reporters were doxxing his location by tweeting about publicly available flight data.

Crucial Quote

In her post, Lorenz wrote: “Twitter has served as an essential real-time news source and played a crucial role in the journalism world, but Musk’s arbitrary suspensions of journalists who report on him should worry anyone who values journalism and free expression.”

Key Background

On Thursday Twitter suspended the accounts of several high-profile journalists from the Washington PostVOA News, the New York TimesMSNBC and CNN after Musk deemed they were violating Twitter’s new rules on sharing people’s real-time location. Earlier in the day the platform had shut down rival social media platform Mastodon’s account along with several accounts tracking the locations of private jets belonging to several billionaires including Musk himself. Among the suspended accounts was @ElonJet—whose continued existence on Twitter had previously been singled out by Musk as a symbol of his commitment to allowing “free speech.” After handing out the bans, Musk accused the @ElonJet account, its owner 20-year-old Jack Sweeney, and other journalists of endangering his and his family’s life by sharing publicly available flight tracking data. The suspension of the journalists’ accounts led to a widespread backlash against Musk, with European Union officials warning that Twitter could face sanctions. Most of the journalists’ accounts were restored on Saturday.

News Peg

After acquiring Twitter in October, Musk initially positioned himself as a champion of free speech and promised to hand off moderation of Twitter to an independent council with “widely diverse viewpoints.” The billionaire, however, has also appeared to act as the arbiter of what kind of content Twitter should or should not allow. In the past month, Musk has unilaterally restored accounts of banned users—including former President Donald Trump—after carrying out an unscientific poll on Twitter. Musk has also used his Twitter account to target people who he dislikes while fanning conspiracy theories.

Further Reading

Elon Musk banned me from Twitter (Taylor Lorenz Substack)

Musk Restores Some Journalist Twitter Accounts After Backlash (Forbes)

Read More

Francis Wood

Francis Wood is a Journalist at Flaunt Weekly Covering Business News.

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