Elon Musk continues to make headlines. He blocked prominent journalists from Twitter because they had reported on him. Now the EU is also getting involved and threatening.

After several US journalists were blocked from Twitter, EU Commission Vice President Vera Jourova threatened Elon Musk’s company with long-term sanctions. “The news about the arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying,” wrote the Czech on the short message service on Friday. Among other things, she pointed out that the EU Digital Services Act (DSA), the provisions of which will apply throughout the EU from mid-February 2024, require respect for media freedom and fundamental rights. “There are red lines. And sanctions coming soon.”

According to US media reports, Twitter has blocked the accounts of at least six prominent journalists. Among others, employees of the “New York Times”, the “Washington Post” and the broadcaster CNN are affected. The closures took place without warning, wrote the Washington Post.

Just the day before, Twitter had blocked an account that was following the private jet of CEO Elon Musk. Some of the now-suspended journalists have reportedly written about Musk’s comments that he and his family were put at risk by sharing location data. Before their ban, many of the journalists had tens of thousands of followers on the platform, the New York Times wrote.

Several US media reported that Twitter initially did not respond to requests for a direct statement. However, Musk wrote in several tweets during the night that the same rules apply to journalists as to everyone else. He was referring to “doxxing,” which is the disclosure of an individual’s personal documents, including information such as their address. “You posted my real-time exact location, basically the coordinates for an assassination attempt,” Musk wrote, without providing details or evidence. Musk spoke of a violation of the Twitter terms of use. It was initially unclear whether the accounts were permanently blocked.

“Suspension of Twitter accounts questionable and regrettable”

“Today’s suspension of the Twitter accounts of a number of prominent journalists, including Ryan Mac of The New York Times, is questionable and unfortunate,” said newspaper spokesman Charlie Stadtlander on Thursday evening. Twitter gave no explanation for the move. It is hoped that the bans will be lifted. “The impulsive and unwarranted suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is worrying but not surprising,” CNN wrote.

The Twitter account that followed Musk’s private jet was created by student Jack Sweeney, who used an automated computer bot to analyze publicly available flight data. Musk had stated in a tweet on Wednesday evening that the deactivated bot account had violated the Internet platform’s user guidelines. The Twitter boss announced in November that he was so committed to freedom of speech that he allowed the account, even though it posed a risk to his security.