Twitter has banned several prominent journalists for covering Elon Musk’s Twitter antics

On Thursday evening, Twitter banned a number of prominent journalists who were covering Elon Musk and his various businesses from the platform. The platform appears to have done so without warning or explanation.

Normally, before an account is banned, Twitter will send a few notifications or warnings, informing users of the policies they have violated, unless they have broken local laws. However, since Musk took over, Twitter has been banning specific accounts with no prior notice. Welcome to Elon Musk’s interpretation of free speech.

The journalists were barred after Twitter suspended the Twitter account of Mastodon, the open-source social media alternative that exploded in popularity following Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. Twitter took action against Mastodon after the account linked to the Mastodon page of @ElonJet, a student-created bot that tracks Musk’s private jet’s location.

A few of the suspended journalists and accounts had shared screenshots and articles about Mastodon’s suspension. Drew Harwell, a Washington Post reporter, tweeted about Mastodon being kicked off the platform shortly before his suspension.

Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Mashable’s Matt Binder, and journalist Aaron Rupar are among the accounts that have been banned. All of the aforementioned names covered Musk on a regular basis and wrote extensively about Musk and his takeover of Twitter.

Rupar commented on his Substack suspension, noting that while he did not know why his account was suspended, he did share a link to ElonJet’s Facebook account while reporting on the subject. Mac shared the message he received from Twitter on an alternate account, noting that there was no warning before the permanent suspension.

Some of the suspended accounts shared the Twitter handles of Mastodon and ElonJet, as well as screenshots of the tweet that appears to have gotten the former account suspended.

Because Twitter’s human moderation teams have been reduced, automated systems enforcing Twitter’s new rules against accounts like @ElonJet were overzealous in this case. However, it’s just as likely that Musk is directing the moderation process.

Musk took to Twitter to explain his reasoning for the ban. He stated that the bans were deliberate, and that the same doxxing rules apply to “journalists” as they do to everyone else.

Musk stated that the suspensions would only be in effect for seven days. He later tweeted a poll asking his Twitter followers to vote on the fate of the banned journalists, who had previously been notified that their accounts had been suspended “permanently.” It should be noted that the journalists who were barred received no such notice.

Furthermore, it is standard practise at Twitter to notify users about posts and skim them to remove offensive or potentially harmful posts before they are banned. Furthermore, the policy that these accounts violated, which prohibited users from sharing “live location information,” is only 24 hours old, so they couldn’t have been notified and given enough time to act on it.

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As Twitter struggles to deal with hate speech, Musk says he will grant ‘amnesty’ to banned accounts

Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, has taken another step toward dismantling the social media platform’s anti-hate speech mechanisms.

Musk announced on Thursday that he would grant “amnesty” to all suspended Twitter accounts that have not violated the law or “engaged in egregious spam.” Musk made the decision after a poll on the platform received 3.1 million responses. Approximately 72% of respondents voted in favour of restoring those accounts, while approximately 28% voted against it.

“The populace has spoken. The amnesty period begins next week. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, quoting a Latin phrase that translates as “the voice of the people is the voice of God.””

Since purchasing Twitter for $44 billion last month, Musk has continued to loosen the platform’s grip on enforcement around posts containing hate speech. Musk reactivated Donald Trump’s account last week after Twitter permanently suspended it following the Capitol insurgency, citing a “risk of further incitement of violence” at the time.

According to NBC News, European Union regulators published a report on Thursday that found Twitter removed fewer hate-speech posts than the previous year.

According to a sample analysed in the EU report, Twitter removed 45.5% of hate speech posts it was notified about, down from 49.8% in 2021 — and those numbers are worse than any other social media platform tested, including TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube.

Not only has Trump’s account been revived. Other accounts that have been reinstated since Musk’s ownership include Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, controversial influencer Andrew Tate, who has a history of spreading misogynistic and violent comments about women, and Jordan Peterson, a psychologist who had his account was suspended after tweets targeting trans people.

Prior to assuming control of the social media company, Musk chastised it for “failing to adhere to free speech principles.” He previously stated his intention to form a “content moderation council.” However, given the recent employee exodus, Musk may find it difficult to carry out any vision he has for Twitter. Thousands of employees have left the company in recent weeks after Musk issued an ultimatum to his employees, telling them to either work long hours at high intensity or quit.

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Musk has threatened to deactivate Twitter account impersonators

Elon Musk announced on Sunday that any Twitter account that impersonates another will be permanently suspended.

The platform’s new owner issued the warning after some celebrities changed their Twitter display names — not account names — and tweeted as ‘Elon Musk’ in response to the billionaire’s decision to offer verified accounts to all comers for $8 per month while also laying off a large portion of the workforce.

“Any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly mentioning “parody” will be permanently suspended going forward,” Musk tweeted. While Twitter previously offered warnings before to suspensions, now that “widespread verification” is being implemented, “there will be no warning.”

In fact, “any name change at all” would necessitate the temporary loss of a confirmed checkmark, according to the world’s richest man.

Kathy Griffin’s account was terminated on Sunday after she changed her screen name to Musk. She admitted to a Bloomberg reporter that she had used his profile photo as well.

On Friday, November 4, 2022, people walk outside Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco. On Friday, Twitter employees were braced for mass layoffs as new owner Elon Musk overhauled the social platform. Jeff Chiu/AP Photo

Bertinelli noted the original purpose of the blue verification tick prior to the prank. It was given away for free to those whose identities Twitter workers confirmed, with journalists making up a large share of the receivers. “It just meant that your identification has been validated.” Scammers would have a more difficult time imitating you,” Bertinelli observed.

“That is no longer true. “Best of luck out there!” She continued.

Musk believes that the $8 verified accounts are his approach of democratising the service. Users who “sign up now” for the new “Twitter Blue with verification” can obtain the blue check next to their names “exactly like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you currently follow,” according to a Twitter update for iOS devices featured on Apple’s app store on Saturday.

It stated that the service would first be available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. However, it was not available on Sunday, and no timetable was provided. Esther Crawford, a Twitter employee, told The Associated Press that it will be available “soon but not yet.”

On Sunday, Twitter did not respond to an email requesting comment on the verified accounts issue and Griffin’s suspension.

Musk later tweeted, “Twitter must become by far the most accurate source of global information.” That is our goal.”

If the firm removes blue checks from current verified users — which has not happened — this might encourage disinformation on the platform during Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Following layoffs that occurred on Friday that apparently affected roughly half of Twitter’s 7,500-employee workforce, some Twitter users, like Griffin, have already begun migrating away from the platform — Counter Social is another popular option. They are concerned that a breakdown in moderation and verification will result in a free-for-all of disinformation on what has been the internet’s primary channel for accurate communications from government agencies and other institutions.

Many businesses have delayed advertising on the platform for fear of it becoming more unruly under Musk.

In a Friday message, Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, attempted to allay such fears. He claimed that the employment reduction had the least impact on the company’s front-line content moderation team.

Musk tweeted late Friday that there had no alternative but to terminate workers “when the firm is losing over $4M/day.” He did not disclose specifics on the daily losses at Twitter, but said staff who were let go were given three months’ pay as severance.

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Elon Musk admits to a ‘massive reduction’ in revenue, prompting Twitter layoffs

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Elon Musk admits to a ‘massive reduction’ in revenue, prompting Twitter layoffs

Twitter temporarily closed its headquarters and restricted employees’ access to internal systems on Friday, a week after billionaire Elon Musk took over the social media network.

Musk announced the layoffs shortly after tweeting that the firm had seen “a big loss in revenue, due to activist groups pressing advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content filtering and we done everything we could to placate the activists.” Totally messed up! They are attempting to undermine free speech in America.”

According to internal sources, the “entire” curation team on Twitter had been fired, while system lockouts made confirmation difficult. Twitter’s curation staff is critical in covering “civic integrity” events like elections, breaking news, and sports, ensuring users receive validated content presented as moments, trends, and subjects items. Internally, it is seen as a critical filter against deceptive posts.

Flags from partner news organisations concerning probable misrepresentation on the platform, according to the staffer, went unanswered. “The platform is going to grow more poisonous with less healthy information to challenge the disinformation or misinformation narratives,” stated an anonymous employee.

Some employees awakened on Friday to find their laptops locked and their access to business Gmail and Slack terminated. “Well, this isn’t looking promising,” Chris Younie, who works for Twitter in entertainment partnerships in the UK, tweeted. I’m unable to access my emails. Mac will not turn on. But I’m grateful that this is happening at 3 a.m. I really appreciate your consideration on the time front, gentlemen…”

The policy on misleading content on Twitter involves labelling disputed posts and highlighting contextualising information next to such messages. The employee stated that they were notified through email that their position was being reviewed.

The layoffs were announced in an email to employees on Thursday. “We will go through the arduous process of decreasing our global workforce in order to put Twitter on a healthy path,” the email added. “We know that this will have an impact on a lot of individuals who have made significant contributions to Twitter, but this move is unfortunately required to ensure the company’s continued success.”


The abrupt manner of the layoffs may have also violated California employment law, and Musk is already facing legal action.

Employers with at least 100 employees are required to declare layoffs involving 500 or more employees under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (Warn) legislation, regardless of whether the company is publicly listed or privately held.

According to Barry White, a representative for California’s workforce development department, the government has not received any such notices from Twitter as of Thursday.

Former Twitter senior community manager Simon Balmain told the Guardian he was “shocked, but not surprised” by the company’s rapid employment layoffs. “I had finished work but still had my laptop open and we all received an email from the employer announcing a reduction in head count,” said Balmain, who had been with the company for a year. My laptop flashed and was deleted an hour later, and I lost access to my programmes.”

Twitter employees have been pushed to work 84-hour weeks and managers have slept at the office over the weekend in order to meet Elon Musk’s strict deadlines.

Twitter employees have been pushed to work 84-hour weeks and managers have slept at the office over the weekend in order to meet Elon Musk’s strict deadlines.

Twitter employees have been working far longer hours than usual since Elon Musk came on board, according to Research Editorial. This comes as employees face the prospect of layoffs as part of the internet mogul’s planned makeover of the company.

According to CNBC, citing internal correspondence, Twitter administrators have forced certain employees to work 12-hour shifts seven days a week – 84 hours a week — to meet Musk’s targets.

Musk’s $44 billion purchase of the social networking platform was completed on Thursday evening, but concerns about layoffs at the company had been circulating for some time. It is unclear how many employees will be laid off, when, and which teams would be the most impacted.

Since Friday, employees have been assigned duties, which some regard as a test by Musk’s team to evaluate who works hard.

Insider has revealed that Musk’s team handed some of Twitter’s engineers weekend coding tasks known as sprints. Other responsibilities include making significant improvements to Twitter’s verification process.

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Big names are leaving Twitter under a week after Elon Musk took over, and rising hate and strict regulations are said to be the reason

That didn't take long at all. Elon Musk's $44 billion takeover of Twitter is only four days old, and he's already facing backlash from celebrities, lawmakers, and advertisers concerned about how the social network may alter under his leadership, even as many conservative voices applaud.

She said of the man who attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband this week. “He was tweeting antisemitic tropes, he was exhibiting memes that depicted violence, and all of this election-denying, pro-Trump, MAGA-crowd stuff,” That’s what we’re up against here… I just don’t think that any individuals should be getting money off of spreading a lot of misinformation.”

She noted that whereas TV networks are required to filter advertising for incorrect information before they have been shown and published, companies such as Twitter are not subject to the same rules.

“We need to modify the requirements for these companies,” she explained. “They’re profiting from us.” They are profiting from the violence.”

Meanwhile, NBA superstar LeBron James said yesterday that the increase in N-word usage on Twitter since Musk’s takeover was “scary AF,” and he hoped Musk “and his staff takes this very seriously.”

This came to know after the Network Contagion Research Institute, a social media research organisation, reported that use of the N-word on Twitter increased 500% in the 12 hours after Musk took control.

“Freedom of expression.” “Liberal tears,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted on Friday. Jordan is a close ally of former President Donald Trump, whom the previous Twitter administration barred from the platform—and whom Musk may invite back.

According to Dataminr, which also analyses social media, antisemitic memes increased, as did the term “plandemic”—shorthand for a conspiracy theory in which elites use the pandemic to obtain power and profit from vaccinations.

Meanwhile, Texas Senator Ted Cruz told Fox News on Friday, “I think Elon Musk buying Twitter is one of the most momentous moves in modern times for free speech.”

“I am extremely delighted that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be ruled by Radical Left Lunatics and Maniacs who actually detest our country,” Trump tweeted on his alternative social site Truth Social.

Podcaster Joe Rogan, for one, praised Musk, a self-described “free-speech absolutist,” on Saturday for seeking to restore a “reasonable exchange of ideas” on the platform.

“I think we have a serious problem with Twitter discourse,” he continued. “Some would like to quiet those who hold opposing views, and then you get all this great feedback from everyone who agrees with you.”

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US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was attacked by suspect David Depape, who yelled “Where is Nancy?” according to a source.

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