Twitter CEO Elon Musk defended his decision to ban several prominent technology reporters from the platform on Thursday night, claiming they violated Twitter’s policies on “doxxing.”
“You dox, you get suspended,” Musk said on a Twitter Spaces conversation with journalists. “End of story.”
Doxxing is the act of sharing information like addresses, phone numbers and emails online in an attempt to allow others to harass the individuals.
The billionaire abruptly suspended the accounts of reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other outlets on Thursday night who had covered Musk’s recent dispute with Jack Sweeney, the creator of @elonjet.
Sweeney, who created the Twitter account that tracked the movements of Musk’s private jet, had his account suspended on Wednesday, despite previous assurances from Musk that he would not be banned.
Musk’s suspension spree on Thursday included the Times’s Ryan Mac, the Post’s Drew Harwell, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The Intercept’s Micah Lee, Mashable’s Matt Binder and independent journalists Aaron Rupar and Tony Webster. Political commentator Keith Olbermann also had his account suspended.
“Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” Musk said said in a tweet on Thursday night, later adding, “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”
Washington Post Executive Editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement that the decision to suspend Harwell and the other reporters “directly undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.”
New York Times spokesman Charlie Stadtlander also denounced the suspensions as “questionable and unfortunate,” while CNN called the decision “concerning but not surprising.”
Musk suggested that the suspensions would not be permanent late Thursday night, opening up a poll to users asking how long the journalists should remain suspended. The billionaire has previously used the same method to determine whether to reinstate other banned accounts, such as that of former President Trump.