Musk Restores Suspended Twitter Accounts for Some Journalists
December 19, 2022
Twitter owner Elon Musk tweeted early Saturday that the accounts of journalists
that were suspended late Thursday will be reinstated.
While some of the accounts were reactivated shortly after Musk’s tweet, however,
not all have been restored.
The Twitter account of VOA’s Chief National Correspondent Steve Herman showed
his restored timeline, except for three tweets that the social media platform
says violated its policies. All of those referred to a banned account that
tracks Musk’s private jet.
Musk said he suspended the accounts because the journalists were revealing
information about the location of the jet, which he said led to a stalker
harassing one of his children.
None of the journalists who had tweeted about Musk and his shutdown of the
account @elonjet, though, had tweeted location information for his plane, which
in any event is publicly available at other online sites.
On other social media platforms like Mastodon and Post.news, Herman stated that
Twitter was asking him to remove the three blocked tweets to have his account
“I have filed an appeal and will not remove the tweets,” Herman posted on
The account suspensions drew an outpouring of concern from other journalists,
rights groups and international organizations.
United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Friday, “The move sets a
dangerous precedent at a time when journalists all over the world are facing
censorship, physical threats and even worse." He noted the U.N. was “very
disturbed by the arbitrary” suspensions.
The European Union, too, expressed concern about the suspensions. From her own
Twitter account, EU Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra
Jourová wrote the suspensions were worrying and underscored: the “EU’s Digital
Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is
reinforced under our Media Freedom Act.”
She said Musk should be aware of that. “There are red lines,” she said, “and
The Committee to Protect Journalists also expressed its unease, saying if the
journalists were suspended as retaliation for their work, “this would be a
serious violation of journalists’ rights to report the news without fear of
Frederike Kaltheuner, director for technology and human rights for Human Rights
Watch, said in a statement Friday that “the removal of the accounts is difficult
to defend based on concerns about privacy or security alone.”
From her official Twitter account, Society of Professional Journalists National
President Claire Regan expressed concern about the suspensions, saying they go
“against Musk's promise to uphold free speech on the platform. We will continue
to monitor the situation and advocate for journalism and free speech on all
responded to the suspension of Herman’s account, saying, “Mr. Herman is a
seasoned reporter who upholds the highest journalistic standards and uses the
social media platform as a news gathering and networking tool. Mr. Herman has
received no information from Twitter as to why his account was suspended. As
Chief National Correspondent, Mr. Herman covers international and national news
stories, and this suspension impedes his ability to perform his duties as a
Musk conducted Twitter polls to determine if and when the journalists accounts
should be restored. Nearly 59% of the respondents wanted the accounts to be
reactivated immediately. Musk tweeted the results, saying “the people have
Musk also tweeted early Saturday that Twitter Spaces was once again running.
Spaces, a group audio chat function, shut down shortly after Musk exited a
conversation with journalists who were discussing his suspension of their