Twitter abruptly suspended the accounts of journalists from multiple outlets who were reporting on or critical of Elon Musk on Thursday. The company, in chaos since Musk took it over in late October, offered no explanation for the suspensions. Musk himself basically accused them of aiding his potential assassination because some of the journalists had reported on his decision to permanently ban an account that tracked his private jet using public information.
The suspensions come as Musk is under increasing pressure for his reduced focus on Tesla, the market cap of which is less than half of what it was when he first indicated his interest in buying Twitter this summer. Musk has also sold off about $23 billion of Tesla stock this year, most of it after he promised to stop doing so in April. Twitter abruptly disbanded its Trust and Safety Council on Monday night, and climate denial and a wide variety of other conspiracies and disinformation have flourished on Twitter since Musk took over the company.
Media outlets and journalists reacted with alarm to the arbitrary suspensions Thursday night. “The impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising,” that outlet said in a statement. Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern to everyone who uses the platform. We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.” (Twitter Suspensions: AP, Axios, Rolling Stone, The Verge, CNN, Hollywood Reporter, Washington Post $, New York Daily News, Deadline, Vice, CNET, Forbes, New York Times $, Variety, Mashable, Reuters, The Wrap, Fox News, Daily Beast, NBC, Philadelphia Inquirer, HuffPost; Tesla upheaval: Washington Post $, New York Times $)