Elon Musk once referred to himself as a “free speech absolutist,” but ever since making that overstated claim, he has been reversing course and introducing more and more restrictions on what he considers to be free speech. From blocking jokesters who mock him on Twitter to blocking recently verified accounts that mock businesses. And keep in mind that he had just tweeted that “comedy is now legal on Twitter” before posting this. Musk has banned the accounts of journalists who have either criticized him or looked into him, putting an end to any pretense that he is committed to unrestricted free expression.
The suspension of ElonJet and its founder Jack Sweeney signaled the start of this editorial cleansing. Musk’s private jet’s location would be tweeted by ElonJet, using information that is already in the public domain. Musk claimed that the account put him and his family in danger and that someone had used it to follow his child. The investigative journalism organization Bellingcat was unable to find any proof connecting the stalker to an airport, and police were unable to confirm that a report about the incident had been made.
The journalists and news organizations covering the story, including IGD News, Aaron Rupar, Donie O’Sullivan, Drew Harwell, Matt Binder, Ryan Mac, Micah Lee, and Keith Olbermann, were suspended after Musk renewed his allegations against Elonjet. The billionaire tweeted on Thursday, “Criticizing me all day is entirely acceptable, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.
Then, Musk joined a Twitter conversation with journalists and claimed that they were “doxing” him, which is the practice of publishing personal information publicly. However, Drew Harwell emphasized that they only connected the ElonJet account (which is also now suspended). Musk reiterated the unfounded doxxing claim and stormed out of space in a rage. Then, according to Musk, all Twitter Spaces were shut down to “address an old bug.”
Twitter has a bug where suspended accounts could still use Twitter Spaces. Since everyone who knows that codebase has been fired, Twitter has shut down the entire Twitter Spaces feature.
Truly a master class in how to run a social media service. https://t.co/c607zR2iKQ
— email@example.com (@Carnage4Life) December 16, 2022
The suspended accounts were then put up for vote, and the results were subsequently announced. He has in the past relied on a Twitter poll to make important safety choices. He reran the poll after the first attempt failed to yield the desired result.
Musk went from telling journalists they were permanently banned, to then saying it was for a week, to then running a poll (where the result called for immediate reinstatement) to then complaining that journalists were overreacting to a 1 day ban. pic.twitter.com/G46Gtsjuyb
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) December 16, 2022
Vra Jourová, vice president for values and transparency in the European Union, took this attack on press freedom extremely seriously while Musk made fun of journalists for overreacting to their suspensions.
“It is worrisome to hear of the arbitrary suspension of journalists from Twitter. Media freedom and fundamental rights must be respected, according to the EU’s Digital Services Act. The #MediaFreedomAct strengthens this. That should be known to @elonmusk. Red lines are present. sanctions, shortly, “Posted on Twitter by Jourová.
Many people have called attention to Musk’s hypocrisy over the real-time location scandal. Far-right accounts have been broadcasting the locations of LGBTQ+-run events on Twitter while Musk has been in charge. These accounts engage in stochastic terrorism, which is the demonization of LGBTQ+ persons as pedophiles with the expectation of violent attacks against them. Examples of the results include the November 19 Club Q massacre, bomb threats against Boston Children’s Hospital, and targeted harassment of Drag Queen Story Hours in the US and UK.
The same neo-Nazi used to instruct his "Troll Army" on how to set up dummy emails and hide their IP addresses so they could set up fresh Twitter accounts to dox, harass and threaten Black and Jewish people and get racist hashtags trending. He's back thanks to Musk and crew.
— Nick Martin (@nickmartin) December 16, 2022
Musk has also shut down Mastodon’s official Twitter account. Many believe that the website will eventually replace Twitter. Under the incorrect assertion that it contains malware, any link from Mastodon cannot be shared on Twitter. In relation to the Hunter Biden laptop breach incident, Musk had previously attacked Twitter’s capacity to block links.
Only week’s false Twitter claims are not limited to this one. Musk also asserted that the “Bot Problem” had been resolved, but a lady deftly demonstrated that this was untrue by merely tweeting the phrase “sugar daddy,” which caused a bot invasion.
.@elonmusk Elon, please don’t mock and promote hate toward already marginalized and at-risk-of-violence members of the #LGBTQ+ community. They are real people with real feelings. Furthermore, Dr Fauci is a dedicated public servant whose sole motivation was saving lives. https://t.co/Vgu04XMGeZ
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) December 12, 2022
Musk has also made threats against leaders in the field of public health, such Anthony Fauci, garnering him accolades from the far-right conspiracy theory group QAnon.