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Elon Musk’s Twitter suspension of tech journalists prompt backlash in Europe

Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Elon Musk’s Twitter recently suspended the accounts of a number of journalists from several news agencies over what the CEO argued was a violation of the social media platform’s doxxing policy. The move has received much criticism. 

Among the accounts suspended from Twitter included CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, and other reporters who seemed to be on the Elon Musk beat. During a Twitter Spaces session about the suspensions, Musk dropped by to share his thoughts on the matter. 

“As I’m sure anyone who’s been doxxed would agree, showing real-time information about somebody’s location is inappropriate, and I think everyone on this call would not like that put into them. There’s not gonna be any distinction in the future between journalists and regular people. Everyone’s gonna be treated the same. You’re not special because you’re a journalist. You’re in Twitter, you’re a citizen. So no special treatment. You dox, you get suspended. End of story,” Musk said. 

While Musk’s sentiments may seem valid and personal considering the reported incident involving his youngest son recently, the Twitter CEO’s wave of suspensions on journalists has triggered strong condemnation from numerous sides. Unsurprisingly, news agencies such as CNN took a negative stance on Twitter’s suspensions. As per the publication, the suspensions were “apparently marking a significant attempt by new owner Elon Musk to wield his unilateral authority over the platform.”

It’s not just news agencies and journalists who have expressed their displeasure at Musk’s suspensions. In recent posts on Twitter, Germany’s foreign ministry also adopted a critical stance on the matter. “Freedom of the press cannot be switched on and off as you please. As of today, these journalists are no longer able to follow us, to comment or criticize. We have a problem with that, Twitter,” the ministry wrote. 

Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s vice president for values and transparency, also condemned the journalists’ suspensions. “News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying. EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our #MediaFreedomAct. Elon Musk should be aware of that. There are red lines. And sanctions, soon,” Jourová wrote. 

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Elon Musk’s Twitter suspension of tech journalists prompt backlash in Europe
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