After Twitter suspended an account that provided publicly available flight details for Elon Musk’s private jet, the social media platform’s new owner and CEO suggested the page put him and his family at risk.
In a three-tweet threadMusk said any account providing “real-time” location information on an individual would be suspended because “it’s a physical security breach.” The billionaire also claimed that on Tuesday night a “mad stalker” followed and climbed onto the hood of a car containing Musk’s son.
Musk vowed to take legal action against the student who ran the flight tracking account, which went through @ElonJet, and against any “organizations that supported harm to my family.”
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department said no police report had been filed on the incident that worried Musk.
“The LAPD’s Threat Management Unit is aware of the situation and Tweet from Elon Musk and is in contact with his representatives and security team,” the department said in a statement. “No crimes have been reported yet.”
The police statement came as Twitter and Musk came under increasing scrutiny over a spate of suspensions, including several journalists covering Musk.
Among those whose accounts were suspended Thursday night are Ryan Mac of the New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Matt Binder of Mashable, Drew Harwell of the Washington Post, political pundit Keith Olbermann and Steve Herman of the publicly funded Voice of America.
On Friday night, most of the accounts were back up and running after Musk ran a Twitter poll asking whether they should be reinstated “now” or “in 7 days.” Olbermann’s @ElonJet account and page appeared to remain suspended.
Harwell’s last post before being suspended was about Twitter deleting the account of one of his competitors, Mastodon, for posting a link to his own version of the @ElonJet account that tracked Musk’s plane. according to a tweet from NBC News reporter Ben Collins.
O’Sullivan and Binder’s accounts were suspended after they shared the LAPD’s statement.
Binder said Thursday he was immediately suspended after sharing O’Sullivan’s screenshot of the statement.
“I have not shared any location data, per Twitter’s new terms. I also did not share links to ElonJet or other location tracking accounts,” Binder said. “I have been highly critical of Musk, but have never violated any of Twitter’s stated policies.”
Musk, a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, vowed to make sweeping changes to the social media platform once he finalized his control of the company, though last month, he tweeted that his “commitment to freedom of speech even extends to not banning the account that tracks my plane, even if that is a direct personal security risk.”
Twitter announced this on Wednesday a policy update which banned the sharing of “live location information, including information shared directly to Twitter or links to external travel route URL(s)”.
“We make no exceptions to this policy for journalists or other accounts,” Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, told The Verge via email.
On Thursday evening, Musk posted several tweets in response to the suspensions of the journalists’ accounts.
“Criticizing me all day is fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family isn’t,” a tweet read.
“They posted my exact real-time location, basically murder coordinates, in (clear) direct violation of Twitter’s terms of service,” he said. another.
Musk also briefly joined a Twitter Spaces audio chat room in which several of the banned journalists discussed the news.
“You show the link to real-time information, prohibit evasion,” Musk said. “Je dox, you are suspended, end of story, that’s it.”
Exiled Washington Post technical reporter Harwell, who was also in the chat room, responded, “This is reporting… there is reporting value in public data.”
Times staff writer Jaimie Ding contributed to this report.