Elon Musk’s Free Speech Crusade Stalls

Elon Musk’s decision to ban a dozen critical journalists last night – despite buying the platform for a hefty $44 billion to promote what he himself called “free speech absolutism” – is already causing him major headaches and an inevitable slew of bad headlines. The accounts belonging to prominent left wing US journalists, including from CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post, mysteriously disappeared yesterday – all after posting negative Tweets relating to Musk’s banning of “@ElonJet“, which used public data to tweet the flight plan of his private plane.

Among them was Alan Ruper, who had nearly 800,000 followers. He criticised Musk for suspending the Jet account, and then yesterday discovered his own account had been suspended…

“I never posted anything Elon Jet related or that could violate the policy about disclosing locations. Unless the policy is that you criticize Elon and you get banned…”

The same thing happened to Mastodon, a new Twitter platform rival, which also saw its account locked. Musk briefly appeared on a Twitter Spaces call with journalists to explain himself, claiming the jet tracker violated his safety – although he left a few minutes into questioning…

“There is not going to be any distinction in the future between journalists and regular people, everyone is going to be treated the same […] You’re not special because you’re a journalist, you’re just a citizen. So no special treatment: You dox, you get suspended, end of story.”

He’s since shared a poll asking when those banned should be reinstated. “Now” is currently ahead at 59.6%.

Guido has supported Musk’s takeover of Twitter. The arbitrary censorship of certain stories and ideas under the previous ownership – not least the Hunter Biden laptop debacle – stifled the platform and undermined free discussion. For a free speech crusader, Musk suspending a bunch of journalists like this is hypocritical to say the least…

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