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New York
CNN
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Elon Musk’s Twitter banned Thursday the accounts of multiple journalists covering the technology industry without explanation.

Accounts belonging to CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, the New York Times’ Ryan Mac, and the Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and several other tech journalists were all abruptly suspended.

“Elon says he is a free speech champion and he is banning journalists for exercising free speech. I think that calls into question his commitment,” Harwell told CNN.

The account of progressive independent journalist Aaron Rupar was also banned. Rupar told CNN he has received no communication from Twitter about the ban. “Nothing,” he said in a phone call.

CNN has reached out to Musk and Twitter for comment.

The suspensions come after Twitter shut down an account belonging to Mastodon, an emerging competitor, also on Thursday.

The Mastodon account had tweeted earlier in the day that people could follow @ElonJet, the account that tracks Musk’s private plane on its platform, after the billionaire banned @ElonJet from Twitter on Wednesday.

That tweet is likely what ran afoul of Twitter’s rules. In his quest to rid Twitter of @ElonJet, Musk introduced new policies banning accounts that track people’s live locations.

Musk also blocked any account from linking to such information, as Mastodon did by linking to the account on its platform.

The move comes after Musk reinstated previous Twitter rule-breakers and stopped enforcing the platform’s policies prohibiting Covid-19 misinformation.

Several of the journalists banned Thursday had covered the ban of the Mastodon account and highlighted the irony of Musk’s self-purported mission to advance free speech on the platform.

“Free speech is when the world’s second-richest man threatens legal action against a 20-year-old college student for sharing publicly available data he doesn’t like,” Harwell tweeted before his account was taken down, referring to Jack Sweeney, the college student who runs @ElonJet.

CNN’s O’Sullivan, too, had been covering the story, having interviewed Sweeney and his grandmother about the issue.

“I do think this is very important for the potential chilling impact this can have for freelance journalists, independent journalists around the world, particularly those who cover Elon Musk’s other companies, like Tesla and SpaceX,” O’Sullivan told CNN Thursday.


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