During a recent Twitter Spaces discussion about the suspension of a number of journalists from Twitter, Elon Musk abruptly left the conversation. A few minutes later, the entire Spaces feature was disabled across the platform.
Breitbart News recently reported that Twitter suspended the account @ElonJet which was created by Jack Sweeney, a student at the University of Central Florida, to use public data from plane transponders that log longitude, latitude, and altitude to track the flight path of Elon Musk’s private jet.
A short while later, at least six prominent establishment media journalists were suspended from Twitter. These included:
- New York Times technology reporter Ryan Mac
- Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell
- Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann
- Former Vox reporter Aaron Rupar
- CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan
- Mashable’s Matt Binder
Musk claimed that these accounts were banned as the reporters had “doxxed” him during the course of their reporting on the @ElonJet account. Although the account has been deleted from Twitter, it remains active on other social media platforms and dedicated websites that will not be linked here due to concerns that Musk may see this as “doxxing” and also suspend this reporter’s (or Breitbart’s) account.
In a Twitter Spaces chatroom hosted by BuzzFeed News tech reporter Katie Notopoulos, Musk was asked about suspending the journalists. Musk said: “Well, as I’m sure everyone who’s been doxxed would agree, sharing real time information about somebody’s location is inappropriate and I’m sure that everyone on this call would not like that to be done to them. And there’s not going to be any distinction in the future between journalists and regular people, everyone’s going to be treated the same, you’re not special because you’re a journalist, you’re a Twitter citizen. So no special treatment. You dox, you get suspended end of story. And ban evasion or trying to be clever about it, like ‘oh I posted a link to the real-time information is obviously somebody trying to evade the meaning.”
Holy Shit. Elon Musk just popped into a Twitter Spaces chat with a bunch of journalists. He was called out by journalist Drew Harrell, who he banned, for lying about posting links to his private information, then leaves almost immediately after being pressed. Here is the exchange pic.twitter.com/wVA9Gb5MVJ
— Bradley Eversley (@ForeverEversley) December 16, 2022
Notopoulos addressed Musk’s statement that posting a link to information could result in a ban, stating that some of the reporters that were suspended — such as the NYT’s Ryan Mac and Washington Post’s Drew Harwell — discussed the real-time info in the course of their reporting and asked if Musk considers that ban evasion.
“You share the link to the real-time information, ban evasion, obviously,” Musk said. Notopoulos said that she didn’t believe that Harwell had posted a link to the information, to which Harwell said: “You’re suggesting that we’re sharing your address, which is not true and you’re suggesting that we’re posting-” Musk then interrupted Harwell saying “yes you are [sharing my address].”
Harwell said he had not done so, to which Musk responded: “You posted a link to the address.” Harwell responded: “We posted a link? In the course of reporting about ElonJet we posted links to ElonJet which are now not online, now banned on Twitter. And Twitter also marks even the Instagram and Mastodon accounts of ElonJet as harmful, which we have to admit and acknowledge is using the same exact link blocking technique that you have criticized as part of the Hunter Biden — New York Post story in 2020, so what is different here?”
Musk responded: “It is no more acceptable for you than it is to me, so, anyway…” Harwell asked: “So it’s unacceptable what you’re doing?” Musk replied: “No, you dox, you get suspended, end of story, that’s it.”
Musk then left the Space completely and did not take any more questions. A few minutes later, not only was the Notopoulous’ Space deleted, but the entire Spaces feature was shut down across the platform.
idk about anyone else but the spaces button is completely gone from my phone right now lmao pic.twitter.com/Oqni7so15Z
— jenny_tightpants (@halomancer1) December 16, 2022
Anyone else getting this error on iPhone ? @twitterspaces pic.twitter.com/0Kwc9PuMIL
— Divit (@divitjindal) December 16, 2022
One user asked Musk about the missing Spaces, to which Musk responded that the platform was “fixing a Legacy bug.”
We’re fixing a Legacy bug. Should be working tomorrow.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2022
As of the time of the writing of this article, Spaces do not appear to be functioning.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan
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