Elon Musk restores journalists' Twitter accounts after outcry

The UN and European Union protested over the suspension of accounts belonging to reporters from prominent publications

Twitter owner Elon Musk announced the move in a post on the micro-blogging platform. AFP
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Twitter owner Elon Musk said he would reinstate the Twitter accounts of several journalists that were suspended after he accused them of endangering his family.

"The people have spoken. Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now," the Twitter owner wrote on the social media app late on Friday.

"Dox" is a term for publishing private information about someone, usually with malicious intent.

Mr Musk carried out a Twitter poll asking whether he should restore the suspended accounts now or in a week's time. Nearly 59 per cent of the 3.69 million users who took part said he should restore the accounts now.

Separately, Twitter said it had started to restore accounts that were suspended for breaking platform rules and that the company planned to reinstate more over the next 30 days.

In a series of tweets on Friday night, Twitter said it had identified several policies where permanent suspension was a “disproportionate” action for breaking rules.

The company said reinstated accounts still need to comply with its rules. “Permanent suspension remains an enforcement action for serious violations,” it said.

Mr Musk had drawn anger and warnings from the European Union and United Nations after suspending the accounts of half a dozen prominent journalists from the New York Times, CNN and the Washington Post. A message on their Twitter pages said the accounts were suspended for violating Twitter rules.

Some of the suspended accounts appeared to have been reactivated, with former Vox journalist Aaron Rupar tweeting again.

"I was pretty bummed about getting suspended initially but quickly realized it'd be fine because I'm blessed to have an amazing online community," Rupar tweeted, thanking people for their support.

The latest controversy began when Mr Musk on Wednesday suspended @elonjet, an account that tracked flights of his private jet.

Mr Musk said the move was necessary after a car in Los Angeles carrying one of his children was followed by "a crazy stalker" and seemed to blame the tracking of his jet for the incident.

Some of the journalists had reported on the incident, including tweets linking to the suspended @elonjet account, which Mr Musk said amounted to "assassination co-ordinates" against him and his family.

With reporting from agencies

Updated: December 17, 2022, 8:18 AM