Arun Ropar is a freelance journalist who is very active on the Internet. He is based in Washington and followed on Twitter by nearly 800,000 people, a benchmark for all those interested in American politics and the growth of far-right movements in the country that raised Donald Trump. His account disappeared Thursday afternoon. And he is not the only one. Eight other journalists from media outlets such as CNN, New York times s Washington Post, among others, has been deleted from Twitter in the past few hours. The common denominator for all? They have been liberal and have recently written about Elon Musk, the management mogul whose management of the social network has come increasingly into question.
The gesture has alarmed organizations that monitor freedom of expression and is already having reactions in the EU: Transparency Commissioner Vera Jourova warned Elon Musk in a tweet on Friday of possible sanctions against Twitter. “The news about journalists being suspended on Twitter is disturbing (…) Elon Musk should take note of this. There are red lines. Sanctions will soon be imposed.” For its part, the German Foreign Ministry expressed reservations about Musk’s latest move. “Freedom of the press should not be turned on and off” on a whim, the administration wrote on its Twitter account.
The news of the arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying. The EU Digital Services Act requires respect for media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our #MediaFreedomAct. @employee You should be aware of that. There are red lines. And penalties soon.
– Vera Jourová (@VeraJourova) December 16, 2022
Robar started receiving messages from his acquaintances telling him that his account had disappeared. wrote the journalist on his Substack account, which is a subscription platform for newsletters. “I have no idea what rules I allegedly broke,” he added. He acknowledges that among the content he gave his audience on Wednesday was a text by Noah Berlatsky analyzing the reactionary populism that Musk has championed since taking the helm of Twitter. As of Thursday afternoon, the company did not explain the reason for the suspension.
Berlatsky’s script began with the awkward moment Musk had on Sunday in San Francisco. The mogul took the stage during a monologue by comedian Dave Chappelle, who invited him. But the Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur couldn’t finish speaking before the loud boo he received in the arena. “The big question is: Why do Chappelle and Musk think anyone would want to applaud the richest man in the world?” Berlatsky wrote. For now, a caveat remains that Robar has seen his account disappear without any warning.
In the midst of the controversy, Elon Musk released a user survey from his account, which was only active for 30 minutes. Remove suspended accounts doxxed [revelan información personal en línea] My exact location in real time,” said the query, similar to the one that opened the door for Donald Trump to return to Twitter. 43% voted to restore access to journalists immediately. Real-time reporters, the FBI will be investigating, there will be private hearings at the Capitol, and Biden will talk about the end of democracy.”
Minutes after closing the poll, the entrepreneur entered the space, a Twitter voice chat. The talk host was Katie Notopoulos, technology reporter for buzzfeed. “In the future there will be no discrimination between journalists, or those who call themselves journalists…everyone will be treated the same. They are not privileged because they are journalists, they are citizens like everyone else. If you share sites they will be suspended,” said Musk, who left the chat when Some reporters started asking him “end of story” questions.
Ryan Mack, a technology reporter who writes from Los Angeles for the New York times, He is also among those affected. His latest story is from Wednesday, when he told how 25 private jet accounts of several millionaires disappeared from Twitter. Among them was Elon Musk. The ElonJet account followed his plane, to the delight of half a million followers. Behind the user was Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old boy, who was feeding him feed with general information. After purchasing Twitter at the end of October, Musk issued the following message: “My commitment to freedom of expression is such that I will not ban an account that follows my plane, even though it poses a security risk.” Sweeney’s personal account has also been deleted.
Journalist Robar is practicing explaining. Perhaps the punishment came when it was announced that ElonJet was still active on Facebook. “Maybe it is, but I still don’t know what policy might have been violated.”
After removing these accounts, Twitter changed its policies and prohibited its users from sharing other people’s real-time locations without their consent. Several of the journalists suspended Thursday were analyzing this change in the platform’s rules. “Beating at me all day is fine, but sharing my family’s location and putting them in danger is not,” Musk wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
Mac resurfaced this afternoon on @macSilenced, offering the same explanations as Robar. Suspended without notice. He did not receive any e-mail explaining the reason for the punishment. “I write about Elon Musk and his companies and will continue to do so,” the reporter recounted.
Sally Buzby, Director Washington PostHe said the censorship action “directly undermines Musk’s promise to operate Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.” Buzbee through a statement demanded the immediate return of the platform to its technology reporter, Drew Harwell.
Matt Bender wildfire who was also suspended, denied in an email to the Associated Press that he had ever shared anyone’s location or personal information. “I also didn’t share links to ElonJet or follow accounts. I was very critical of Musk, but I never violated Twitter’s policies, ”adds the journalist..
Donny O’Sullivan, who follows far-right movements (and who once had more than 280,000 followers), has also been removed from the social network. CNN said in a statement: “The hasty and unwarranted comment by several reporters is concerning, but not surprising.” “The increased instability and volatility must be of incredible concern to any user of the platform,” continues the series, which will assess its relationship with the technology after these suspensions.
Steve Hermann, national correspondent for Voice of America, the official outlet of the US government, has also been suspended from @w7VOA’s account. A country previously expelled a correspondent for this medium from the networks: China. Russia also blocked access to the news page.
Perhaps one of the most famous banned profiles is that of Keith Olbermann, a sportswriter who successfully transitioned to news anchor at MSNBC, a job he held from 2003 to 2012. Olbermann is known for his highly progressive and critical views. Former President Trump and the far-right movements that sheltered the Republican President. In August it started to become popular Podcast Where he analyzed issues of American politics. Others affected are freelance journalist Tony Webster and a collaborator with The objection In the United States, Mika escaped.
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