Elon Musk announced late Friday that he will restore some journalists’ suspended Twitter accounts after accusing them of putting his family in risk.
After suspending the accounts of more than a dozen well-known journalists from the New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post, Musk drew ire and threats from the EU and UN.
“The people have spoken. Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now,” the Twitter account owner said.
Musk polled Twitter users to decide whether he should reinstate the suspended accounts right away or wait a week. Nearly 59 percent of the 3.69 million participants in the survey thought he should open the accounts right away.
Aaron Rupar, a former Vox journalist, appeared to be tweeting once more from some of the blocked accounts.
Rupar wrote, “I was originally pretty disappointed about getting suspended but quickly realized it’d be alright because I’m privileged to have an awesome internet community.”
The most recent issue started when Musk suspended @elonjet, an account that followed the flights of his private plane, on Wednesday.
Musk appeared to blame the tracking of his jet for the incident, saying the move was required after a car carrying one of his children in Los Angeles was being tracked by “a crazy stalker.”
Some of the journalists had written about the situation, including tweets that Musk said amounted to “assassination coordinates” against him and his family and linked to the @elonjet account, which has since been suspended.
Musk halted the meeting after being pressed further on his claims. The chat function, Twitter Spaces, was subsequently shut off.
The European Union, the UN, and media outlets all harshly criticized Musk’s decision to suspend the journalists’ accounts.
Vera Jourova, an EU commissioner, wrote on Twitter, “News regarding arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is alarming,” expressing concern that Twitter would be subject to severe fines under European law.
“Elon Musk ought to be conscious of that. Red lines are present. And soon sanctions,” she tacked on.
A “dangerous precedent at a time when journalists around the world are experiencing censorship, physical threats, and even worse,” according to the UN leader Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson.
Since Musk purchased ownership of Twitter for $44 billion, primarily through the sale of shares in his profitable electric car firm Tesla, Twitter has lurched from one controversy to the next.
Major advertisers have shunned the billionaire’s claims of free speech, and regulators have taken notice.
In addition to attacking Anthony Fauci, the departing senior advisor for the US response to the Covid-19 pandemic and a frequent target of abuse in right-wing media, Musk has restored the account of former US President Donald Trump.
According to CNN, the former head of trust and safety at Twitter fled his house following Musk’s unfounded criticism of Twitter’s content filtering.
More than half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees lost their jobs as a result of a purge Musk ordered, and now many of them are suing the SpaceX and Tesla billionaire in court.
Musk once gave the impression that he was going to war with Apple over the App Store, only to subsequently claim via Twitter that there had been a “misunderstanding.”
Insider Intelligence, a market watcher, predicted that Twitter will lose users.
According to Insider Intelligence researcher Jasmine Enberg, there won’t be a single cataclysmic incident that brings an end to Twitter.
Instead, people will begin to abandon the network the next year as they become disillusioned with the platform’s technological problems and the spread of offensive or otherwise objectionable content.