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Elon Musk reinstates journalists who were suspended from Twitter after conducting a poll about how to handle accounts that ‘doxxed’ his location

Elon Musk in 2020

Yasin Ozturk/Getty Images

  • Twitter on Thursday suspended accounts belonging to several journalists who cover Elon Musk.
  • Musk — who appeared to have accused them of “doxxing” — conducted a poll on their reinstatement.
  • As of Friday evening, accounts belonging to several journalists had been reinstated.

Elon Musk on Friday said Twitter would reinstate accounts belonging to journalists who had been suspended a day prior — and several were already back on the platform shortly after the announcement.

On Thursday, several prominent journalists who had been covering Musk and his Twitter takeover were abruptly suspended from the platform without a clear explanation. A day prior, the company had suspended accounts run by college student Jack Sweeney — including one that tracked Musk’s private jet — and announced new privacy rules.

Musk suggested in a tweet on Thursday that the journalists’ suspensions were related to the new policy, writing: “Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else.”

Some of the banned journalists included Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann, and Tony Webster.

Musk conducted a Twitter poll Thursday asking his followers when he should “Unsuspend accounts who doxxed my exact location in real-time,” with the options being “Now” or “In 7 days.” A day later, nearly 59% of poll respondents voted “Now.”

On Friday evening he tweeted: “The people have spoken. Accounts who doxxed my location will have their suspension lifted now.”

At the time of publication, accounts belonging to O’Sullivan, Rupar, Mac, Harwell, and Webster had all been reinstated. Several of them appeared to have tweets that were blocked and replaced with a note that saud the tweet “violated the Twitter rules.” Olbermann’s account appeared to still be suspended.

“I want to thank everyone for all the support and kind words over the past day and some change,” Rupar wrote after the suspension was lifted. “I was pretty bummed about getting suspended initially but quickly realized it’d be fine because I’m blessed to have an amazing online community.”

Rupar told Insider’s Erin Snodgrass on Thursday he did not know why he had been banned and he did not believe he shared anything related to the jet tracking accounts. He did say he tweeted something critical about Musk the day before getting banned.

“That leaves me inferring I guess it was something critical I posted of Elon,” Rupar said of the reasoning for his suspension. “Maybe that’s why I received no information from Twitter; they’re probably not going to come out and say that.”

Webster also tweeted after his account was reinstated, noting his last tweet before the suspension said: “If you aren’t willing to admit that Elon Musk lied to you about his ‘free speech’ goals, you are simply in denial at this point.”

“Needless to say, I was correct,” he wrote Friday evening. “This is not the free speech we were promised. To be clear, there was no ‘doxing’ – even if an impulsive, accountable-to-nobody oligarch said so.”

Musk has claimed to use Twitter polls to make decisions in the past — he reinstated former President Donald Trump’s account after conducting a poll — but Twitter employees have said such polls are unreliable. Yoel Roth, the former head of trust and safety at the company, told Rolling Stone “Polls are more prone to manipulation than almost anything else.”

Twitter and Musk did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider