Although he advocates freedom of expression, Elon Musk had journalists who had criticized him blocked. The Twitter boss then presented himself in a public conversation. Apparently he didn’t want to hear any allegations.
Twitter, which now stands for a lonely beacon of freedom of expression, has been emphasized by Elon Musk again and again since he took over the news service. But while more and more problematic voices are allowed to return to the platform, Twitter has increasingly blocked Musk’s critics in recent days. Now the boss has joined a conversation with journalists. Only to leave him in a hurry shortly afterwards.
He must have known what he was getting himself into. A group of journalists met under the name “Save Ryan Mac” on Twitter’s Spaces platform. Similar to the hype app Clubhouse, users can meet there for public discussions, in which individuals are asked to come on stage as speakers. By the time Musk joined, there were already over 37,600 listeners. The topic: the Twitter blocking of the “New York Times” journalist Ryan Mac.
Musk under cross-examination
He had been suspended from Twitter a few hours earlier, along with several other colleagues from major US newspapers. Everyone had reported negatively about Musk in the past. Twitter justified the blocking with alleged rule violations. And Musk also tried this justification after clicking into the space. “Posting information about a user’s location is simply inappropriate,” he repeated his accusation to those blocked. Journalists would be treated like anyone else under his leadership. “There’s no special treatment: you give out personal information (Musk used internet slang “doxxing”, editor’s note), you’re kicked out. End of story.”
Neither Mac nor his colleagues would have revealed Musk’s address, notes Katie Notopoulos from “Buzzfeed News”. The allegation stems from the fact that the journalists reported on the Twitter channel “Elonjet”. There, the publicly available data was compiled where Musk’s private jet is currently located. The articles and tweets merely referred to the blog. Musk doesn’t want to acknowledge that. “That’s a circumvention tactic. You’re trying to be clever: I only referred to a link and not the information itself. That’s obviously an excuse,” he scolds. Musk appears slightly jittery and distracted, appearing to be typing rapidly on his keyboard in the background as he speaks.
Drew Harwell, who is also suspended and works for the Washington Post, does not want to let this accusation stand. Although Musk repeatedly interrupts him with the accusation that he had revealed the home address of the Twitter boss, he calmly presents his view of the reporting. He and his colleagues only reported on Elonjet that the links were no longer active after the account was blocked, he emphasizes. He never spread the address himself. Then he goes on the attack: “Isn’t that exactly the blocking technique that you criticized in the context of the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop,” he reproachfully wants to know from the Twitter founder.
Musk puts that in an uncomfortable position. Just a few days earlier, he had made the alleged cover-ups of the former Twitter leadership public with great fanfare. In 2019, there was a struggle with how to deal with information found on a laptop owned by President Biden’s son. Because links to some files had been blocked – some of them involved Hunter Biden’s private nude photos – Musk had claimed a conspiracy.
Twitter boss doesn’t feel like criticism
Confronted with this, the Twitter boss stammers in the Spaces conversation. “It’s no more acceptable to me than it is to you,” he says uncertainly. “So her actions were unacceptable?”: Harwell digs deeper. “No. If you doxxt, you will be banned. That’s it,” Musk replies. And leaves the space so quickly that the other participants in the conversation only notice it twenty seconds later at the end of the next question from moderator Notopoulos.
The other participants in the conversation are surprised by the quick exit. “I had so many questions,” said CNN journalist Ben Collins. However, the conversation does not go on for long: Shortly after Musk’s farewell without a greeting, the entire Spaces function went offline without explanation.
Source: Spaces conversation (via Bradley Eversley)