Anything can be said on Twitter, unless it touches Elon Musk

Anything can be said on Twitter, unless it touches Elon Musk

France Press agency

NOS News

  • Nando Castelyn

    Tech editor

  • Nando Castelyn

    Tech editor

It is becoming increasingly clear that Elon Musk alone decides what can and cannot be said on Twitter. He bought the platform with the message that you should be given all the space you need to be able to say what you want, but now he is undermining that principle himself.

Last night, a number of American journalists were kicked off Twitter for unclear reasons. They include journalists from the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN, who have been critically following Elon Musk and Twitter for some time. They seem to have been suspended due to a reported deletion of the Twitter account that tracked the movements of Musk’s private jet (ElonJet). It is unclear if the suspension is temporary. What Musk himself suggests – or forever.

Policy was broken

“The special thing about this situation is that Musk has previously indicated that ElonJet will continue to exist and that this is a sign that too much is allowed,” says Michael Kloss, who researches online freedom of expression at Leiden University. “Musk has suddenly changed that policy. You get a very strong impression that Musk’s choices are driven by private considerations.”

According to Musk, journalists are guilty of “defamation,” posting private information such as a home address or phone number online. According to him, the journalists At present Sharing location data, “coordinate killing” in his words. And he warns That his family is in danger.

Not only has Twitter suspended the journalists, but it has also taken action against Mastodon. This is an alternative to Twitter that has been gaining popularity since Musk owned it. If you wish to share a link to Mastodon on Twitter, you will be notified that this is not possible because the link has been “marked as malicious”. Mastodon’s official Twitter account (@joinmastodon) has also been banned.

“The categorically withholding of mastodon links raises serious questions,” says Kloss of Leiden University. This amounts to antagonizing Twitter against a competitor.

arbitrary and unstable

After Elon Musk became the owner of Twitter at the end of October, the big question was how he would handle the rules on the platform. “He appears to be behaving increasingly arbitrarily and unstable,” concludes Laersen. “Now you see what happens when someone takes over a powerful tech company that doesn’t follow consistent policies and is just trying to protect their own interest.”

Earlier, after a non-representative poll, Musk put former President Trump back on the platform. He later used the same trick to recover several suspended accounts. These were accounts that were permanently banned for oftentimes multiple rule violations.

Musk’s actions against journalists and Mastodon also contradict his criticism of Twitter’s actions prior to taking ownership. For example, Musk strongly criticized Twitter’s action to block a link to a notorious New York Post article about President Biden’s son Hunter during the 2020 US presidential election. The same applies to President Trump’s comment after the storming of the Capitol.

The European Commission is concerned about Musk’s actions and warns of sanctions:

It is not clear how well these teams are still doing within Twitter. Thousands of employees have left Twitter since the end of October.

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