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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Top journalists banned from Twitter without notification or explanation—and Mastodon’s account is gone too.


A number of prominent journalists’ accounts were suspended on Twitter this evening, including those of correspondents from CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Aaron Rupar, Ryan Mac and Drew Harwell were among those to go dark at about 7:30 p.m—Rupar reports that he was given no explanation or notification about his permanent suspension.

Mashable commentator Matt Binder is also among those gone. The lean appears to be against people who have criticized (or even merely covered) Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner—see this thread from NBC’s Ben Collins—but it may also be the case that those accounts are just the first suspensions to be widely noticed.

Also suspended this evening is the Twitter account of Mastodon, the microblogging platform attracting many new users since Musk’s takeover of Twitter. Here, the rationale seems clearer, as it linked to the Mastodon account of @ElonJet, banned yesterday by Twitter after a haphazard series of suspensions, reversals, and hastily-amended policy updates.

We don’t know exactly why the account was banned, but it may not have been done entirely out of spite for a rival platform. Instead, it could have been because Mastodon tweeted about @ElonJet.

Wesley Lowery speculates that the suspended journalists may all have linked to an on-the-record statement published today by the LAPD concerning Musk’s report that his son’s car was accosted by a stalker.



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