freedom of the press
Elon Musk's Twitter Poll On Whether Banned Journalists Should Be Reinstated Backfired In The Best Way
Elon Musk posted a poll asking whether banned journalists should be reinstated and then redid it once it didn't turn out the way he liked.
Billionaire Elon Musk's Twitter poll asking whether banned journalists should be reinstated on the platform he has used to silence critics since acquiring it in October backfired tremendously.
Musk banned several prominent journalists from Twitter, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and other journalists who have covered the saga unfolding at Twitter, which has been riddled with scandals since Musk acquired it.
Though Musk has not responded to requests for comment from any news outlets, he claimed the journalists violated his new “doxxing” policy by sharing his “exact real-time” location.
According to Musk, these violations are akin to providing “assassination coordinates," though he has provided no evidence he, as one of the world's richest men and a major public figure, is in any real danger.
But the lack of any evidence of this alleged plot did not stop Musk from courting attention from the Twitter community by way of a poll asking if the banned journalists should be reinstated.
More than 535,000 people voted in the poll and the majority of those who voted said the accounts should be reinstated "now."
\u201cUnsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1671163008
The poll backfired when many used the opportunity to criticize Musk's actions, calling his "commitment to free speech" into question. So he redid the poll 40 minutes later, claiming there were "too many options", and...welll...it still didn't quite go as planned.
Twitter users were quik to call Musk out.
\u201cI think we would need to see the evidence justifying the suspension. \u201cDoxxing you in real time\u201d is a characterization / conclusion. What were the specific tweets? So people can assess for themselves\u2026 Trust, but verify, @elonmusk\u201d— Viva Frei (@Viva Frei) 1671194692
\u201cDon't fall for this garbage. This is classic abuser / bully behavior. He's trying to reinforce the message that he can take it away & give it back if people adjust their behavior to what he wants. Boycott Tesla cars and its overvalued stock. That will crush him and this op.\u201d— Tom Joseph (@Tom Joseph) 1671182870
\u201cEveryone vote "Now".\n\nThe results will be a huge humiliation to him \ud83d\ude01\u201d— Rammstein Fella\ud83c\uddf5\ud83c\uddf9\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Rammstein Fella\ud83c\uddf5\ud83c\uddf9\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1671183993
\u201cAs far as I can see, this is untrue. According to press reports, the journalists he\u2019s suspended reported on publicly available data on the location of his private jet. \n\nThat\u2019s not \u201cdoxxing\u201d. Such air traffic data is often legitimately available online.\u201d— Asa Winstanley (@Asa Winstanley) 1671190040
An annoyed Musk later announced he would redo the poll because there were "too many options."
So he did just that.
\u201cUnsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1671165265
But that didn't go over well either and the mockery continued.
\u201cCan you show us on the doll where the journalists reported your exact location at the time they tweeted it?\n\nAgain, and I can't believe I have to ask this, you know you're not actually a plane, right?\u201d— post.news/andrewparker (@post.news/andrewparker) 1671217160
\u201cIt looks like Musk was doing these stupid little polls last night while on his special private jet that we're not supposed to talk about.\n\nhttps://t.co/vL0sevasEI\u201d— Justin Ling (@Justin Ling) 1671215587
\u201cThere is something creepy about Musk's poll-based paternalism and autocratic curation of the platform. It's as if he's an Emperor in the Coloseum asking for a thumbs up or down on the fate of these journalists\u201d— Marc Owen Jones (@Marc Owen Jones) 1671176162
\u201cHe lost his own poll so he whined and did it again. He\u2019s a coward who hides behind polls and banning people. He\u2019s losing this one too.\u201d— FRO\ud83d\udd06\ud83c\udf0a\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 (@FRO\ud83d\udd06\ud83c\udf0a\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08) 1671185547
The news Musk banned top journalists from Twitter comes shortly after he made headlines for banning the Twitter account @elonjet, the brainchild of young programmer Jack Sweeney that tracks the itineraries of Musk's private jet.
Sweeney confirmed the account had been suspended in a post published to his official Twitter account, which included a picture showing his account had been suspended because it "broke the Twitter Rules" and is now "permanently in read-only mode."
The account's suspension came mere days after Sweeney posted a thread on Twitter titled "My Twitter Files" in which he revealed he'd learned from an anonymous Twitter employee that his account had been subject to a shadow ban, which blocks users without their knowledge, typically by making their posts and comments no longer visible to other users.
UPDATE: After the poll results, Musk reinstated the accounts of the journalists he suspended.