A dozen American journalists have been suspended from the social network, including employees of CNN, the “New York Times”, the “Washington Post”, as well as independent journalists.
“We are very disturbed by the arbitrary suspension of journalists’ accounts seen on Twitter.” The United Nations was quick to react on Friday, December 16, after the suspension by the owner of the social network, Elon Musk, of several accounts of American journalists. “Media voices should not be silenced on a platform that professes to be a space of freedom,” thundered Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
“The decision sets a dangerous precedent at a time when journalists everywhere face censorship, physical threats and worse.”, he was alarmed. Earlier in the day, the Vice-President of the European Commission, Vera Jourova, for her part recalled that there is “red lines” not to cross, threatening Elon Musk, in a tweet, “sanctions, soon”.
A dozen American journalists have been suspended from the social network, including employees of CNN, from New York Times, from Washington Post, as well as independent journalists.
Journalists accused of “doxing”
Some of those reporters had tweeted about Twitter’s decision on Wednesday to suspend the account that automatically reported Elon Musk’s private jet rides. Self-proclaimed defender of freedom of expression, the controversial billionaire, new owner of Twitter, then accused them of endangering his safety as well as that of his family, through the practice of “doxing”. This term refers to the fact of publicly disclosing on the Internet personal information relating to an individual, without their consent. Elon Musk announced overnight from Thursday to Friday that “accounts involved in doxing” would be temporarily suspended for 7 days.
In a live audio chat on Friday on Twitter, he further stated that “everyone will be treated the same” before leaving the chat and deactivating the Twitter Spaces audio chat service, claiming a “Technical problem”.
For its part, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called for the accounts of the journalists concerned to be restored. The organization believes that “the arbitrariness of the big platforms” represents a “major danger to democracy”, and calls to “take back control before (…) it’s too late”.
Numerous condemnations among European politicians
The French Minister for the Digital Transition, Jean-Noël Barrot, said on Friday “distressed by the drift in which Elon Musk is precipitating Twitter”. The Minister of Industry, Roland Lescure, for his part announced “suspend all activity” son the social network.
“Freedom of the press should not be turned on and off at convenience”denounced for its part the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, via the social network, adding that “for this reason, we have a problem with Twitter”.
Since taking over the platform for $44 billion, the billionaire has sent mixed messages about what is and isn’t allowed on it. Fervent defender of a great freedom of expression – as long as the comments comply with the law – he restored accounts previously banned by the social network, including that of Donald Trump. But he also suspended that of Kanye West after the publication of several anti-Semitic messages and refused the return to the platform of far-right conspirator Alex Jones.
#Twitter #Elon #Musk #suspends #journalists #accounts #denounces #dangerous #precedent