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Twitter cites "doxxing" to suspend journalists amid spat over account that tracked Elon Musk's jet

Washington: Twitter has suspended accounts of roughly half a dozen prominent journalists, who have been covering the social media site and its owner Elon Musk, citing they had violated rules against "doxxing."
The suspended accounts include those of 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, political journalist Keith Olbermann, Aaron Rupar and Tony Webster, both independent journalists, the New York Times reported. The social media platform on Thursday (local time) displayed "account suspended" notices on the accounts of these journalists.
The development follows a policy update made by Twitter on Thursday (local time) prohibiting the sharing of "live location information, including information shared on Twitter directly or links to 3rd-party URL(s) of travel routes."
A Twitter user Mike Solana, in his tweet pointed out that the suspended accounts had posted links to jet trackers on other websites. Responding to Solana, Musk said "Same doxxing rules apply to "journalists" as to everyone else."
Further in his response to Solana's tweet, Musk wrote, "Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not."
"They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service," Musk tweeted.
According to the Oxford dictionary, to dox somebody or something means to reveal information about somebody on the internet, usually in order to harm them
On December 15 (local time) Musk tweeted: "Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info. Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn't a safety problem, so is ok."
In a previous tweet Musk has said that his two-year-old son named 'X' was doxxed by a "crazy stalker" after mistaking his child for him. The stalker was seen wearing a black hoodie and recording the incident on camera. "Last night, a car carrying little X in LA was followed by a crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked the car from moving & climbed onto the hood," Musk wrote.
The billionaire owner of Twitter also posted a video of the alleged stalker and vowed to take action against Twitter account @ElonJet, which was suspended on Wednesday (local time). Its owner, a 20-year-old named Jack Sweeney, used publically available data to track the movement of the billionaire's private jet. The account used to tweet every time Musk's jet used to take off and land.
On the suspension of the Twitter accounts of journalists, Musk tweeted, "If anyone posted real-time locations & addresses of NYT reporters, FBI would be investigating, there'd be hearings on Capitol Hill & Biden would give speeches about end of democracy!" The Twitter owner also tweeted an opinion poll seeking responses from users on what they think should be the duration of the suspension. Of the two options given by Musk were "Now" and "In 7 days."
On Thursday Twitter suspended more than 25 accounts for tracking the planes of government agencies, billionaires and high profile individuals including that of Musk, according to a report in The New York Times.
The report also said that many of the accounts were operated by Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old college student and flight tracking enthusiast who had used Twitter to post updates about the location of Musk's private plane using publicly available information.
Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesperson for the NYT was cited in the US daily's report as saying "Tonight's suspension of the Twitter accounts of a number of prominent journalists, including The New York Times's Ryan Mac, is questionable and unfortunate. Neither The Times nor Ryan have received any explanation about why this occurred. We hope that all of the journalists' accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for this action."
CNN spokesperson Kristine Coratti Kelly as quoted by The New York Times, said the suspension are concerning but not surprising. "Twitter's increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses" it, she said.
Twitter's actions could intimidate journalists who cover companies owned by Musk, said CNN's O'Sullivan, one of the journalists whose account was suspended. Another journalist, Tony Webster in a emailed comment, told the The New York Times: "I was disappointed to see that I was suspended from Twitter without explanation." He said that he tweeted about the Twitter account that tracked Musk's private plane. Binder, the Mashable journalist, said that he had been critical of Musk but had not broken any of Twitter's listed policies.
After his suspension from Twitter, Sweeney turned to Mastodon, an alternative social network. After Mastodon used Twitter to promote Sweeney's new account on Thursday, Twitter suspended Mastodon's account. As some journalists shared the news of Mastodon's suspension, their own accounts were suspended, reported The New York Times. (ANI)

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