Twitter Suspending Accounts of Journalists and those linking “Competitor”

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Twitter today has just done a massive ban wave of accounts. This all started with @ElonJet belonging to Florida student Jack Sweeney who posted real-time public information on the whereabouts of Elon Musk’s (as well as other high profile celebrities’) private jets. After having the tracking account banned Sweeney posted a link on Twitter to his tracking account on Mastodon. Mastodon is an open-source alterative (competitor) to Twitter. Musk had previously said in a November Tweet while he didn’t like what Sweeney was doing in the interest of “Free Speech” he would allow the account to remain (even if he had offered Sweeney $5K a while back to stop). Others who had retweeted or tweeted direct links to Mastodon have found the links in their Tweets flagged as as “potentially harmful.” Twitter has even gone as far as banning Mastodon’s Twitter account.

As of this evening several prominent journalists have found their Twitter accounts to be suspended or permanently banned with no warning or notification. The common demonstrator seems to be they tweeted links to the jet tracking website or about Mastodon. This of course is a violation of Musk’s new ‘Doxxing” rule (even if using publicly available information) which went into effect very recently.

The situation followed the company’s decision to suspend the Twitter account of Mastodon, an open source social media alternative that’s built momentum since Elon Musk took over at the company. Twitter took action against Mastodon after the account linked to the Mastodon page of @ElonJet, a student-made bot that tracks the whereabouts of Musk’s private jet.

At least some of the accounts suspended had shared screenshots and observations about Mastodon’s suspension. Just prior to his suspension, Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell tweeted about Mastodon being kicked off the platform.

First thoughts was these bans/suspensions were automated and the journalists accounts were accidentally tagged. Seems plausible given there is very little human interaction with Twitter’s current content moderation system. However, Musk later confirmed in a Tweet the suspensions were intentional stating “Same doxxing rules apply to “journalists” as to everyone else,”

via Tech Crunch