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Twitter reinstates banned journalists’ accounts following criticism

Following Twitter CEO and billionaire businessman Elon Musk’s decision to suspend a number of journalists’ accounts from Twitter, the affected accounts have now been reinstated on the platform. 

Extensive criticism and controversy arose when it became apparent that numerous verified journalists - including from CNN and The New York Times - had their Twitter accounts suspended. 

The suspensions came after Musk had an encounter with a ‘crazy stalker’ after he believed his location was ‘doxxed’. Doxxing involves the release of private information online, often revealing the target’s address.

Indeed, Musk tweeted about the incident on Thursday: ‘Last night, car carrying lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving & climbed onto hood.’

The suspensions then began after Musk stated that: ‘Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.’

Journalists who were consequently suspended by Musk included Ryan Mac of The New York Times, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, and Donie O'Sullivan of CNN. 

Bodies including the EU and UN condemned the suspension, with UN's under secretary general Melissa Fleming stating: ‘A free press is the cornerstone of democratic societies and a key tool in the fight against harmful disinformation.’

Following widespread criticism, Musk tweeted a poll on Friday asking users when he should ‘Unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time’, with 40% voting ‘now’. 

Musk then went on to tweet: ‘If anyone posted real-time locations & addresses of NYT reporters, FBI would be investigating, there’d be hearings on Capitol Hill & Biden would give speeches about end of democracy!’

Regardless of his own justifications of the suspensions, the journalists’ accounts were indeed reinstated on Saturday. Musk thus tweeted: ‘The people have spoken. Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now.’

Twitter’s suspension of journalists’ accounts is one of the many controversial incidents which have occurred since Musk took control of the platform. 

Twitter’s future currently remains uncertain, as Musk tweeted a further poll on Sunday asking: ‘Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll’, to which 57% voted ‘Yes’. 

Image Credit: Yuri Samoilov vía Flickr

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