Journalists reporting on Elon Musk suspended from Twitter without explanation

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Without a clear explanation, Twitter began suspending the accounts of several journalists Thursday night, including reporters from CNN, Washington Post, Mashable, and the New York Times.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

If the accounts had one thing in common, they were primarily journalists who covered technology and often reported on Twitter’s owner, Elon Musk. Jason Kint of Digital Content Next, a trade association representing digital media companies, made a public list of the suspended accounts available here. It includes the following:

  • Independent journalist Aaron Rupar
  • CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan
  • Drew Harwell, from Washington Post
  • Former MSNBC host and pundit Keith Olbermann
  • Mashable’s Matt Binder
  • Micah Lee of The Intercept
  • Ryan Mack, New York Times
  • Independent journalist Tony Webster

Elon Musk appeared to explain the suspensions in a couple of tweets.

Musk was referring in part to the suspended journalists who reported on Twitter and suspended @elonjet, the account of the college student who tracked the comings and goings of the billionaire’s private jet. The Tesla CEO later tweeted the following:

In the second tweet, Musk alluded to what is known as “The Streisand Effect,” named after singer Barbra Streisand, who in 2003 tried to suppress photographs of her home by suing the photographer. The trial attracted a lot of attention around the photos. As a result, they were seen by far more people than they would have been had the lawsuit not been filed. The Streisand effect occurs when attempts to suppress information have the unintended consequence of publishing the information more widely.

The Streisand effect demonstrates two things relevant to Musk’s fame: the Internet’s power to spread information and how difficult it can be to control the spread of information once it’s released.

Twitter has also suspended the official account of rival social media platform Mastodon after it tweeted that the @Elonjet account was still available there.

But as of late Thursday, the Twitter accounts of rivals Facebook, Tribal Socialand Tumblr owner Automaticas well as upstart Post.News – which has yet to tweet – were still active.

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