Elon Musk Allows Return Of Some Suspended Twitter Accounts Who Allegedly Doxxed His Location

Twitter reinstated several journalists’ accounts that had been suspended in a crackdown after CEO Elon Musk accused them of violating a rule against doxxing.

The accounts were restored in accordance with the outcome of a poll posted by Musk. After more than 3.6 million votes were cast in a 24-hour survey, 58.7% of respondents called for the immediate return of the banished accounts Musk accused of having doxxed his exact location in real-time. The rest voted in favor of a seven-day suspension.

Unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2022

“The people have spoken. Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now,” Musk said.

Within moments, accounts that were suspended Thursday as part of a larger crackdown on those who shared or posted links to the location of private jets, including one owned by Musk, began to return. Among the restored accounts were journalists such as CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, New York Times tech reporter Ryan Mac, Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell, and Aaron Rupar.

Mashable’s Matt Binder, who also was allowed back, quickly began tweeting again to mark his return.

“The people have spoken. Matt Binder has been reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” he said in response to Musk’s announcement. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” is a Latin phrase that translates to “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” Musk, who completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter in late October, used this same phrase upon reinstating former President Donald Trump’s account in accordance with another poll in November.

The people have spoken.

Matt Binder has been reinstated.

Vox Populi, Vox Dei.

— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) December 17, 2022

The wave of suspensions, particularly of journalists, generated a wave of criticism as well as threats of sanctions and fines. CNN even said it would “reevaluate” its relationship with Twitter depending on the explanation given for the suspensions. All this stemmed from a flurry of activity on Wednesday when Twitter updated its private information policy and suspended an account that used flight data to track Musk’s private jet and similar accounts.

Musk claimed on Twitter that a “crazy stalker” attacked a car in Los Angeles carrying one of his young children, and he told journalists they would get no “special treatment” as it related to sharing information on someone’s location in real-time.

“Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” Musk said in one tweet Thursday. “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service,” he said in another.

They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2022

Although Musk initially said those users he accused of engaging in doxxing would receive a seven-day suspension, he then turned to a poll. The first one Musk posted, which had four options and showed a plurality in support of immediately reinstating accounts, was halted after he claimed there were too many options. Then Musk posted the poll he later acted upon.

Sorry, too many options. Will redo poll.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2022

 

Not every user who was suspended in the crackdown appears to have been given a reprieve. For instance, media personality Keith Olbermann’s account was still suspended nine hours after Musk’s reinstatement announcement. But Olbermann got around his suspension on Friday, tweeting and sharing a video of himself chastising Musk on an account dedicated to dog rescue and adoption.

Also not returned were accounts run by Jack Sweeney, the 20-year-old college student who appears to be central to the Twitter clampdown. Sweeney set up several profiles tracking the planes of wealthy people, including the popular @ElonJet account that followed Musk’s private jet. Musk threatened to sue Sweeney and others he accused of supporting harm to his family.

In speaking with the New York Post, Sweeney rejected the notion that his flight-tracking account posed a stalking danger to Musk and his family, and of the legal threat said, “I do think it’s a bluff, but we’ll have to see.”

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