Created by Florida teen Jack Sweeney, the account used publicly available information to send tweets when Mr Musk’s private jet was in the air. There was no information about whether Mr Musk was on any of the flights.
Mr Sweeney’s account was also suspended as were a number of other accounts that tracked private jets belonging to prominent people.
Twitter then hastily changed its terms of service to state that it would suspend users that shared live location information of others apparently in an attempt to retroactively justify the account suspensions.
As CEO and owner of Twitter, Mr Musk can make decision about who is and isn’t on Twitter.
But the suspension appears to run contrary to various statements Mr Musk has made about free speech and Twitter.
Indeed, in November he said his “commitment to free sp
eech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk”.
If anyone posted real-time locations & addresses of NYT reporters, FBI would be investigating, there’d be hearings on Capitol Hill & Biden would give speeches about end of democracy!
People keen to know where Mr Musk’s or other jets are can still do so – just on other websites and social media platforms. So the suspension from Twitter has not stopped the location of Mr Musk’s jet being available.
“It’s not that hard to kill somebody if you wanted to, so hopefully they don’t. There’s definitely some risk there.”
On Wednesday, Mr Musk posted a video of a man in a car in Los Angeles asking “anyone recognise this person or car?”
He claimed his son X was being followed by a “crazy stalker (thinking it was me)”. Mr Musk then referenced Mr Sweeney, but there was no evidence the person following the car with his child in had looked at the @ElonJet account.
Additionally, website Insider reported that Mr Musk had not filed a police report on the alleged stalking incident.
But Twitter did suspend the accounts of CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac and The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell among others after they reported on the private jet brouhaha.
On Thursday evening Mr Musk unexpectedly dropped into a Twitter Spaces online forum which included journalists who quizzed him on the suspensions.
“Showing real time information about someone’s location is inappropriate … you doxx you get suspended. End of story.”
None of the reporters suspended however had revealed the real time location of Mr Musk or his jet. But they did include links to the now defunct @ElonJet account and some articles had links to an aircraft tracking website.
Why have journalists had their Twitter accounts suspended? Please explain. And it had better be a GOOD explanation.
I was on the twitter space last night where journalists were discussing their suspensions. Musk came on, made a short comment about ‘doxxing gets you banned, end of’, Didn’t answer questions and now seems to have disabled the entire spaces feature.
After being pushed to further explain why he had selected those journalists for suspension, all of who have written heavily about Mr Musk and Twitter, the CEO left the chat and then shortly afterwards the entire forum was deleted.
Mr Musk has since tweeted asking his followers when he should unsuspend “accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time”. As such it seems likely they will be reinstated.
Some have noted that Mr Musk seems to have different standards when it comes to his privacy and safety and others.
For instance, he seemed to have no qualms sharing a picture of a man in a car he claimed was following his son including personal information such as the car’s licence plate.
And on the weekend, Mr Musk highlighted a tweet about the academic research of Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth which found that some users of hook up apps are under age.
In a statement, CNN said: “The impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising.
“Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses Twitter”.
The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, one of the suspended journalists, said: “Elon says he is a free speech champion and he is banning journalists for exercising free speech.
“I think that calls into question his commitment.”
News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying. EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our #MediaFreedomAct. @elonmusk should be aware of that. There are red lines. And sanctions, soon.