Twitter has reinstated the accounts of several journalists who had been “permanently suspended” after reporting on the suspension of an account that published the whereabouts of Elon Musk’s private jet.
The reporters, including journalists for CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, had been covering the story of Twitter banning @ElonJet, which used publicly available data to tweet the location of Musk’s jet, when their own accounts were suspended Thursday. Twitter had also banned the personal account of the Florida college student Jack Sweeney, who ran the account, as well as the official account of Mastodon, a social media app that’s been viewed as an alternative to Twitter, after it linked to @ElonJet’s presence on its own platform.
Musk suggested that the decision to reinstate the journalists’ accounts was made as a result of his Twitter poll asking if the reporters should be allowed back on Twitter. A majority of those who responded, 59%, said their accounts should be unsuspended “now.”
“The people have spoken,” Musk tweeted. “Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now.”
The removal of the accounts prompted BuzzFeed News journalist Katie Notopoulos to start a Twitter Space titled “#saveryanmac #macpack” in reference to former BuzzFeed News and current New York Times reporter Ryan Mac. More than two hours after the Space started, Musk joined the live discussion and tried to explain the reasoning behind the suspensions before fleeing as journalists attempted to question him about the decision.
The embattled new CEO of Twitter claimed that the journalists in question had doxxed him by linking to @ElonJet in their reporting. Doxxing is when private and personal information, such as addresses or phone numbers, is published.
In a heated exchange, Notopolous clarified that the reporters had simply reported about the account, but Musk said posting links to the information constituted “ban evasion.”
“You’re just a Twitter citizen. So no special treatment,” he said. “You dox, you get suspended, end of story.”
As of Saturday morning, most of the journalists who had been suspended from the platform had their accounts reinstated. However, Business Insider’s Linette Lopez, who has written investigations about Musk’s electric car company Tesla, and former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann remained suspended.