Musk reinstates suspended journalists after poll on Twitter

Several high-profile journalists who were suspended from Twitter on Thursday evening were reinstated early Saturday.

“The people have spoken,” Elon Musk tweeted.

Twitter users voted in a poll conducted by Musk to restore the accounts, which were shut down without warning. The social media platform’s new owner recently used Twitter polls for several high-profile decisions, including the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s account.

The reports from Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, Matt Binder of Mashable, Micah Lee of The Intercept, Steve Herman of Voice of America, and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann and Tony Webster were all suspended Thursday night.

“Matt Binder is back,” the Mashable journalist tweeted early Saturday.

Olbermann’s account appeared to remain suspended on Saturday morning.

Musk had said the suspensions were supposed to last for seven days, but early Saturday said the “accounts doxxing my location will now have their suspensions lifted.”

He has accused the journalists of sharing private information about his whereabouts, which he described as “essentially murder coordinates”. NBC News was unable to verify that claim.

“You doxx, you will be suspended. End of story. That’s it,” Musk said Thursday night in a Twitter Space audio discussion, explaining his latest policy to more than 30,000 listeners.

He was referring to Twitter’s latest rule change about accounts following private jets, including one owned by Musk, introduced Wednesday.

Several of the suspended reporters had written about the new policy and Musk’s rationale for imposing it, including his allegations about a stalking incident he said affected his family in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

He tweeted on Wednesday that a car one of his children was in was followed and blocked by a driver, who Musk said climbed onto the hood of the car with his child inside.

The Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday that no police reports had been filed. Other law enforcement divisions also cover parts of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Musk said: “Any account that doxxs someone’s real-time location information will be suspended, as it is a physical security violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location information.”

“Posting locations where someone has traveled to with some delay is not a security issue, so it’s okay,” Musk added.

However, the accounts that were suspended did not tweet about the real-time location of the car Musk said his child was in. One of the banned accounts, “@elonjet,” previously tweeted flight details showing the location of Musk’s private jet. Some of the journalists who were banned had previously tweeted links to the account and other profiles of creator Jack Sweeney, whose personal Twitter account was also suspended.

Flight data includes where a plane lands, but it doesn’t track a plane’s occupants outside of the plane itself, so it can’t be used to track the real-time location of Musk or his kids if they’re not on board or near the plane goods.

The account of Mastodon, a platform that has become one of Twitter’s biggest competitors, was also suspended Thursday, and links to Mastodon and other autonomous, decentralized networks were blocked as “unsafe” links that could no longer be tweeted.

Thursday’s suspensions were sharply criticized by free speech experts, and Musk cheerleaders and some conservative influencers joined in condemning the move.

Musk had vowed to run Twitter as a free-speech absolutist, and since taking control, he has reinstated accounts associated with the QAnon movement and other far-right groups, but banned others.

He has also removed critics of his policies from the company.

The associated press, David Ingram and Jason Abbruzzese contributed.