Musk Bans Prominent Journalists Amid ‘Doxxing’ Concerns

Twitter CEO Elon Musk continues to court controversy as he imposes content moderation policies that critics have deemed arbitrary and contradictory.

The most recent backlash came in response to his decision to ban an account that tracked his private jet’s location in real-time. Before his acquisition of the social media platform was finalized earlier this year, Musk asserted that he would allow the account to continue posting such information.

“My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” he said.

Since then, however, Musk reported that his family has been targeted by a stalker, which seemed to prompt a change of heart regarding the jet-tracking account.

He tweeted that “account doxxing real-time location info” would be grounds for account suspension, calling it “a physical safety violation.”

Doxxing is a term frequently used to describe the release or dissemination of identifying information about a person.

In addition to suspending the account and threatening legal action against the user who operated it, Musk also booted a number of high-profile journalists from the platform based on their coverage of the developing story.

Several prominent figures from outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN lost access to their accounts on Thursday, prompting widespread backlash from countless users.

Although many critics suggested that Musk’s move was retaliatory against journalists who published negative articles about him, he sought to clarify his motivation for suspending the accounts.

“Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” he tweeted, following up with a post asserting that the banned users posted his “exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service.”

CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan appeared on the cable news network to offer his take on the abrupt suspension.

Calling Musk’s doxxing claims against him “entirely false,” O’Sullivan added: “This all goes back to a few days ago when there’s this account that tracks the location—using publicly available information—of [Musk’s] plane. And he kicked that off Twitter. He changed the rules to make it against Twitter’s rules. And we were reporting on that. We were reporting on the shutdown yesterday and late last night.”